KAMPALA — Maverick lawyer Evans J. Kibedi has welcomed Constitutional court ruling held that army court has no powers to try civilians.
In 2011, Mr. Kibedi challenged army court in High court & his application was rejected,then he petitioned Constitutional court.
This court ruling follows a 2011 petition by Ex Bubulo west, MP Kipoi N Tony, Mr. Sengooba & 7 others Ex UPDF deserters who’re charged with Treason, recruiting UPDF,Police desserters & refugees from DR. Congo, Burundi & Sudan.
It’s alleged that the accused & Gen. Sejusa David Ex Coordinator of military intelligence helped them to bring unlawful AK47 guns & other war items into Uganda from US via S. Africa in an attempt to overthrow Uganda Government.
The accused were detained for 2 weeks in various places, media reported that Sengooba was detained in Kololo Summit View torture Chamber, Kipoi & Ex UPDF deserters were locked in Makindye army cells.
Constitutional court ruled that army court has only powers to try active UPDF officers and to displine undisplined army officers not to try civilians and that, army court lacks tenets of ordinary court of law set up under chapter 8 of the constitution & that army court isn’t part of judiciary.
Any attempt by the executive to put army court under same courts of judicature confused jurists and lawyers.
In interview with Human rights, constitutional and criminal laws scholar, Mr.Kibedi said this is a progress & good court decision,” I urged that trial of my nephew Sengooba and others was discriminative, unconstitutional & unlawful.
Judge, said that judges of independent courts can’t be under someone’s control or influenced by the President.
“It’s our Constitutional duties to disobey unlawful of the President, we have to fulfil out duties as independent minded judges.”
The Judge, said army court team are incompetent, they’re not independent, they only enforced their appointing authority, President Museveni’s orders, therefore unfairness or miscourage of justice can occur”
Judges made conquential orders; that the cases of the petitioners aren’t stopped, other charges can be brought up against them in the High Court by the DPP but reasoned that subjecting them to army trial was unlawful and unconstitutional.
The judge also directed their case files be sent to the High Court in 2 weeks from date of ruling & that petitioner No1’s bail cash 65,000 (USD) & his other valuables be handed over to Mr. Kibedi & that, other suspects be given bails because it’s their constitutional rights, as they wait to defend themselves in High court.
Civilians & Ex UPDF officers serving sentences imposed on them by army court contrary to constitution, their case files be sent to the High Court within 15 days & the 8 petitioners be taken to lawful Government jail not in army barracks or torture chamber/dungeons.
Judge awarded petitioners costs for human rights abuses, unlawful & unconstitutional trial in army court.
Judge further declared sections of the UPDF as unconstitutional & inconsistent under Art 28(1) of the constitution & that more UPDF sections must be reviewed to exclude laws that are preserve of civil court of judicature established under constitution.
Majority decision made conquential orders that will see justice & liberty for people being wrongly tried in army court.