Uganda: Breaking the circle: Protecting human rights in the northern war zone

Report
March 16, 1999

Uganda: Breaking the circle: Protecting human rights in the northern war zone


(38) The Monitor, 9-12 August 1996.
(39) The New Vision, 10 March 1998.
(40) Rupiny, 11-17 March 1998.
(41) The New Vision, 18 March 1998.
(42) Statement by A.B. recorded in Gulu on 13 February 1998.
(43) The New Vision, 13 November 1996.
(44) See Uganda: Detentions of suspected government opponents without charge or trial in the north (AFR 59/04/94), December 1994.
(45) Amnesty International believes that a legal challenge could clarify whether the Article defines a mandatory period when bail cannot be granted or whether its intent is to oblige the courts to grant bail after a set period if bail has not already been granted within that period. The first interpretation creates a situation in which serious criminal charges can be abused in a manner that violates human rights. The second transfers the emphasis onto the granting of bail as a right -- and reduces the scope for serious criminal charges to be abused as an alternative form of detention.
(46) Article 218 (2), Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
(47) Body of Principles for the protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
(48) Senior Superintendent Sam Epodoi, Gulu District Police Commander, 19 May 1998.
(49) See, for example, Uganda: The failure to safeguard human rights, Amnesty International (AFR 59/05/92), September 1992.
(50) Lieutenant Shaban Bantazira, Director UPDF Public Relations Office, 22 May 1997; Lieutenant Colonel (now Brigadier) James Kazini, Commander 4th Division, 23 May 1997; Mr Okello Olanya, Gulu Assistant Resident District Commissioner, 27 May 1997; Senior Superintendent Sam Epodoi, Gulu District Police Commander, 26 May and 10 July 1997; Mr Peter Odok W'Ochieng, Gulu Resident District Commissioner, 10 July 1997; Lieutenant Khelil Magara, UPDF Public Relations Officer - Gulu, 18 May 1998; Brigadier Edward Wamala Katumba, Commander 4th Division, 21 May 1998.
(51) In relation to rape of girls under the age of 18, the police prefer to use the charge of defilement (unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 18) because it side-steps the defence of alleged consent.
(52) In one case -- that of three soldiers accused of assault -- the defendants have been tried and acquitted.
(53) Local councillors are elected at village (LCI), sub-county (lLC III) and district (LC V) council levels. One of the functions of LCs at each level is to be the representatives of the community in dealings with the civil and military authorities. Informally, respected elders often play the same role. Chiefs are government employees, the representatives of the administration at the levels of parish and sub-county.
(54) Section 83, The Magistrate's Courts Act, 1970; see also A guide to criminal procedure in Uganda, p.49 by Hon. Mr Justice B.J. Odoki.
(55) Brigadier Edward Wamala Katumba, Commander 4th Division, 21 May 1998.
(56) Mr Ganyahandere, Assistant Commissioner of Police - Crime, CID Headquarters Kampala, 16 July 1997.
(57) Senior Superintendent Sam Epodoi, Gulu District Police Commander, 10 July 1998.
(58) Lieutenant Shaban Bantazira, Director UPDF Public Relations Office, addressing a conference on Challenges to reconciliation and the protection of human rights in Gulu on 8 July 1997, organized by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative.
(59) Uganda Human Rights Commission, Annual Report 1997, pp 17-18.
(60) This is not just a problem in the north of Uganda. A study of the criminal justice system by the United Kingdom Government's Department for International Development drew attention to serious shortcomings nationwide in the collection and analysis of scientific evidence (Uganda: Review of Uganda criminal justice system -- Final Report, pp 9-10, Section Four, Volume I, Department for International Development, December 1997).
(61) Uganda Human Rights Commission, Annual Report 1997, p17.
(62) Uganda Human Rights Commission, ibid, p17.