High Court in Jinja has set Friday, January 13 to decide on the bail application filed by Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere. Mumbere has been in jail since his arrest on November 27 last year, when the army raided his palace. More than 100 people died during the clashes.
Mumbere has been in jail since his arrest on November 27 last year, when the army raided his palace. More than 100 people died during the clashes.
After the high court judge Eva Luswata ruled this morning that the high court has jurisdiction to hear Mumbere's bail application since he has not been committed, the applicant's lawyers justified why Mumbere deserves bail.
Through his lawyers of Alaka & Co Advocates and Ochieng Associates Advocates, Mumbere on December 16 filed an application in Jinja High court seeking to be released on bail pending his trial.
In his application, the king pointed out that it is his constitutional right to bail and assured court that he will not interfere with investigations.
Mumbere presented people who he regarded substantial sureties. These include Members of Parliament from Kasese district, including Winnie Kizza, Nzoghu William and Muhindo Harold and former Rwenzururu kingdom prime minister Bwambale Constantine.
Caleb Alaka, one of Mumbere's lawyers, told court that he has a fixed place of abode at Muyenga Cell, Nyakabingo II in Kasese and in Makindye in Kampala. He however asked court that for purposes of being within the court's jurisdiction, Mumbere will be staying in Kampala and will only travel to Kasese with permission from court.
Alaka also told court that Mumbere, upon being granted bail, has plans of convening a stakeholders' meeting to have a lasting solution to the violence in the Rwenzori region.
However, Principal State Attorney Ojok Alex argued that since investigations are still ongoing in the region, bailing Mumbere will interfere with the progress so far registered.
The state also argued that Kasese district is still volatile and releasing Mumbere may trigger more attacks from his loyalists.
Prosecution also told court that the sureties presented by the applicant are not substantial. Ojok submitted that the sureties, being his subjects, cannot be relied upon to compel Mumbere to return to court.
After hearing from both sides, Luswata set tomorrow Friday at 3pm, when she will give her ruling on the mater.
Earlier, the judge ruled that the bail application hearing will be heard from Jinja high court.
In her ruling, Justice Luswata agreed with the submissions of Mumbere's defence lawyers that in the preliminary stages where the king is not committed for trial, he is not bound by its rules and can have his bail application hearing done before another division of the high court.
On Monday, Rachael Bikhole, the Principal State Attorney from the Directorate of Public Prosecution-DPP raised preliminary objection to the bail application hearing. In her submission, Bikhole argued that since Mumbere is also facing terrorism charges, his bail application should be heard by the International Crimes Division of the High Court that has the jurisdiction over terrorism matters.
She argued that the rules of International Crimes Division of the High Court demand that cases such as terrorism, genocide, and crimes against humanity are heard before that same court.