Monday, July 16, 2018

Military justice in Uganda

The Observer reports here on military justice as applied to senior officers in the Uganda People's Defense Force. Excerpt:
Dr David Mushabe, a senior litigator of civil and military law who was retained by [Gen. David] Sejusa, told The Observer that the nature of the army court means it can operate at the whims of the commander-in-chief who appoints its heads.

“The manner in which the court is structured, both legally and in practice, it is not possible for any person who is not in the good books of the commander-in-chief to get justice in the military courts until they petition for the intervention of the civil courts,” he said.

Mushabe, who is handling several cases before the military court, makes reference to his experience while handling former spy chief, Sejusa’s cases.

“I am not surprised that [Gen. Kale Kayihura] has not been charged. It is only those who don’t know what happens there that are shocked,” he said.

“All the people who preside over the court are appointed by the commander-in-chief and they are serving officers of the military who by military practice are expected to obey his commands….So, if you are someone like Gen Kayihura, who has rubbed him the wrong way, you are likely to face a team that acts on his [the president’s] orders and directives. This is what I have experienced while handling Gen Sejusa’s case.”

“I am the witness. While handling the Sejusa case, you would submit to the panel about any act that contravenes the law, but they will just say the law is the law, and it not the practice of the court,” he said.
Uganda also regularly tries civilians in its general court-martial, contrary to human rights standards. 

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