Sunday, June 24, 2018

Not military justice (yet)

You can't make this stuff up. A Uganda People's Defence Force officer has gone to court to stop another officer (senior to him) from marrying the woman he claims is already his wife. He's also complained, without success, to military authorities. Details here.

Is bigamy an offense under Uganda's military law? If so, is this bigamy? The Marriage Act 1904 provides:
36. Marriages under customary law.

Any person who is married under this Act, or whose marriage is declared by this Act to be valid, shall be incapable, during the continuance of that marriage, of contracting a valid marriage under any customary law, but, except as aforesaid, nothing in this Act shall affect the validity of any marriage contracted under or in accordance with any customary law, or in any manner applied to marriages so contracted.
There are criminal penalties. Section 179 of the UPDF Act 2005 makes civilian crimes service offenses.

According to this article,
an individual who learns that their spouse has left them for another marriage, like [Roselyn] Namukasa did, can seek redress in courts of law. He says that the aggrieved party can go to court and get an order nullifying the marriage.

“And these people are obliged to separate otherwise not doing so would be contempt of court. One is expected to go back to their partner. On whether he or she will accept you, that is another issue,” [Daniel] Angualia concludes.

Bigamy may be an ignored offence, as the advocate alleges.

That comes off as a leeway for it to be prevalent, but you cannot rule out that a time will come when the state will gain interest in prosecuting suspects of the crime. Since it cannot be told when that will happen, the commendable way forward is to be on the good side of the law.
For a U.S. Army bigamy case, click here.

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