Friday, September 30, 2016

Uganda shelves critical report on military trials

The Kampala Observer reveals here that the Ugandan government has opted to shelve a critical report on the record of the country's military courts. The report was a joint effort by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Uganda Human Rights Commission. Excerpt from The Observer's account:
"Key among the violations are that: suspects are denied the right to a speedy trial, evidence obtained through torture is routinely accepted in evidence without inquiry into allegations made by suspects, suspects do not have adequate facilities to prepare their defence, the legal service provided during trials by the UPDF falls far short of the requisite standards and there are overt violations of the presumption of innocence," says the 47-page report. 
Highly-placed sources revealed to The Observer that the contents of this report, titled Justice for civilians in Uganda's military courts: an analytical report, were discussed in a June 2016 Army Council meeting. Thereafter, the senior leadership of the UPDF, which comprises the army council, decided to shelve the document without making a decision on it. 
The report, which becomes public at a time when Nakawa MP Michael Kabaziguruka is battling his trial in a court martial, makes a series of recommendations to the UPDF court martial, the Supreme [C]ourt and Parliament. Kabaziguruka petitioned the High court saying the court martial did not have the right to try him, but he lost that case. 
In their report, the rights bodies recommend that the court martial should urgently process and implement the transfer of civilian cases as earlier mentioned, dispose of cases that have no evidence or witnesses traced, and release on bail suspects who have spent the constitutionally-mandated period on remand.
The report seems not to be on the Internet yet. 

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