Absence of Civil Court in Karamoja, UPDF still hears civilian cases in general court martial

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In short
The Uganda People Defence Forces – UPDF is still charging civilians before the General Court Martial in Karamoja because of absence of civil courts.

The Uganda People Defence Forces – UPDF is still charging civilians before the General Court Martial in Karamoja because of an absence of civil courts.

UPDF spokesperson, Felix Kulaigye said in an interview that the UPDF had stopped arraigning civilians before the general court martial in most parts of the country except in Karamoja.

In 2006, the Constitutional Court ruled that it was illegal for UPDF to charge civilians before the court martial. In the petition brought by Forum for Democratic Change leader, Dr. Kiiza Besigye that the Court Martial can only try cases under the UPDF Act and the Judges concurred that cases of unlawful possession of firearms shouldn't be tried in the Court Martial but rather in the civilian courts.

Two years ago the UPDF handed over cases of civilians that were undergoing trial in army courts to civil courts.

On July 16, the general court sentenced Achilla Nayo, Lochar Kaler and Joseph Nagit to three years after they were found in possession of fire arms.

Two other civilians Abdallah Nangai and Asuman Lutaya, a driver from Mbale, were charged for robbery in the Makindye general court martial.

When asked why the Army was still hearing cases of civilians in the court martial, Kulaigye said trials of civilians had been suspended.

Kulaigye said that all files that were in the General court martial had been moved to civilians’ courts except in Karamoja where there are no civil courts.

Kulaigye said in Karamoja there was only a grade I magistrate court with the other civil judicial system lacking which has left the Army in charge.

Kulaigye said that the UPDF would hand over the cases to civil courts when they are establishing adding that the Army would not leave a vacuum.