Mohammed Ndifuna has written this Maverick Citizen account of the misuse of military courts to suppress democracy by trying civilians. Numerous useful links are provided. He concludes:
Unless the trial of civilians in military courts is urgently ended impunity among security agencies will continue unabated. Failure to do this has profound implications: citizen interest in elections will wane as it will be associated with high political risk; citizen confidence and trust in the judiciary will be undermined; and dictatorship will be entrenched as the independence of the judiciary and electoral processes in Uganda are continually blighted by military interference and subversion.
It is therefore imperative that the state takes measures to amend Section 199 (1)(h) of UPDF Act 2005 under which civilians may be tried in the military courts.
Shifting gears, Uganda is not alone in misusing military courts. Another prime offender in this respect is Lebanon, as witness this current development.
Aya Majzoub, Lebanon researcher for Human Rights Watch tweeted earlier today that “the structure of Lebanon’s military courts undermines the right to a fair trial since many of the judges are military officers, appointed by the Defense Minister, and are not required to have any legal training to work as judges.”