The army has described as baseless the accusations raised in a leaked U.N. draft on atrocities in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, that it committed war crimes during operations there in the 1990s.
The U.N. report documents several incidents in Congo where UPDF soldiers are accused of atrocities such as massacres of civilians, torture and destroying critical civilian infrastructure.
The report cites the town of Beni where UPDF soldiers instituted a reign of terror for several years with complete impunity. The report states that the UPDF carried out summary executions of civilians, arbitrarily detained large numbers of people and subjected them to torture and various other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
The report said the UPDF used a particularly cruel form of detention that involved putting detainees into deep holes in the ground, where they were forced to live exposed to bad weather.
The U.N. draft said this act caused the deaths of numerous people by making property essential to the survival of the civilian population unusable and that it could be classified as a war crime under international humanitarian law.
But Ugandan soldiers eventually got sucked into the country's various wars including helping to topple the country's long-serving dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, and twice clashing with their erstwhile ally, Rwanda.
The U.N. report, however, says Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier's committed grave crimes during its operations, some of which could be classified as war crimes.
Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF's spokesman, told the Reuters News Agency that the U.N. charges were false because they lacked detail and sound evidence.
Kulaigye wondered why these accusations are coming up again after the International Criminal Court didn't find any evidence of war crimes against the UPDF.
The leaked report has sparked a diplomatic row between the United Nations and Rwanda as it says troops from that country may have committed genocide in Congo.
Rwanda has threatened to pull its U.N. peacekeeping soldiers out of Sudan's Darfur region in protest and the U.N. is delaying publication of the final report to give concerned states a chance to comment.
He also says that Uganda conducted its own judicial investigation which cleared the army of such accusations.
Kulaigye says that the report is intended to destabilize the cordial relations that Uganda and the DRC have enjoyed for some time.
The UPDF entered Congo in the 1990s to uproot the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a rebel Ugandan group that had established bases there.
In one of the horrendous incidents, the U.N report states that the UPDF disabled the turbines on the Inga dam in 1998, depriving the capital Kinshasa and a large areas in the province of Bas-Congo of electricity for three weeks.