Rushed Arrests Contribute to Case Backlog - CSOs

1274 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Civil society organisations have condemned the move by the state in arresting former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye to face treason charges yet they had not completed carrying out investigations into the same case.

Civil society organisations have condemned the move by the state in former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye to face treason charges yet they had not completed carrying out investigations into the same case.
 
Led by Dr Livingstone Sewanyana of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, while meeting the Judiciary case backlog committee, they argued that this tendency of first arresting suspects before investigating their cases is one of the biggest causes of case back log in the Judiciary.
  
Dr Sewanyana gave the example former presidential candidate, Dr Besigye, who was arrested in May this year but the state has never concluded the investigations six months down the road. He said the ideal practice should be that the state should first investigate cases before arresting the suspects but in Uganda, it's the opposite.
  
Dr Sewanyana's comments come barely a week after Dr Besigye put on notice Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court that, should the state fail to commit him to the High Court to stand trial at his next court appearance on January 25 next year, he will never return to that court again for mention of his case.
  
Dr Besigye said he has been reporting to Nakawa court for the last six months but the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says he is still investigating the matter and asks for adjournment.
  
Dr Besigye is accused of swearing-in himself as President following the contested February 18 General elections. The state says Besigye's actions amounts to treason.
  
The other factors that the civil society told the case backlog committee headed by Court of Appeal judge Richard Buteera as contributing to backlog in courts are; late coming by judicial officers to courts, fewer state attorneys, lost files and poor customer care that leave court litigants not knowing where to go.
  
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe recently instituted the committee to find the causes of case backlog in courts and also propose solutions to remedy them.
  
The civil society was representing the views of the general public at this consultative meeting held this evening at the High Court premises in Kampala.