Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ugandan MP's jurisdictional challenge postponed

A challenge by a Member of Parliament to the jurisdiction of a Ugandan court-martial has been postponed until a decision can be made whether to assemble a full Constitutional Court bench of five judges. Details here. The court-martial continues to be stayed pending review in the civilian courts. Excerpt:
[Michael] Kabaziguruka, who was present in court, recently petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking a declaration that the General Court Martial (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 courts limited to only disciplining soldiers rather than charging them (soldiers) and civilians with offences. He also wants court to award him costs 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 instill discipline among UPDF soldiers.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights has been interpreted to prohibit the trial of civilians by military courts. 

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