Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Government states its case in Uganda Constitutional Court

The government has responded to the Constitutional Court appeal by a Ugandan parliamentarian who has objected to the exercise of military jurisdiction over him. Excerpt:
[MP Michael] Kabaziguruka had petitioned the Constitutional court, seeking a declaration that the GCM and other military courts were unconstitutionally established. 
He contends that these courts are merely tribunals set up for purposes of disciplining errant military officials and not courts of law within the meaning of the Constitution. 
Kabaziguruka therefore wants the powers of the military court be limited to only disciplining soldiers rather than charging them (soldiers) and civilians with offences. He also wants court to award him cost of the petition. 
He accuses the 6th Parliament of over stepping its powers by creating section 197 of the UPDF Act that establishes the GCM other than a mere tribunal to instil discipline among UPDF soldiers.
The Attorney General's chambers position is as follows:
"As a civilian, Kabaziguruka is alleged to have been aiding and abetting persons subject to military law to commit service offences which bring him under the realm of the General Court Martial" [Denis] Bireije stated. 
He contends that the GCM before which Kabaziguruka has been charged is capable of fairly and accurately pronouncing itself on the charges brought against Kabaziguruka without prejudice to him. 
According to Bireije, Kabaziguruka has not shown or demonstrated to court that there is eminent danger which he intends to stop that cannot be compensated by way of damages.  
He also argues that all the issues raised in Kabaziguruka's application are of enforcement of human rights which can be handled by any competent court without resort to the Constitutional Court. Bireije added that Kabaziguruka's allegations are unfounded and speculative.

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