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Court Martial suspends operations

Genaral Court Martial chair Lt General Andrew Gutti. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda People’s Defense Forces General Court Martial has suspended its operations. The decision is in line with the new COVID-19 preventive measures announced by President Yoweri Museveni last week to contain the second wave of the pandemic which has seen a spike in infections.

In his televised address, Museveni directed all government ministries, agencies and departments to scale down their staff to 10 percent as part of the COVID-19 containment measures. Lt Col. John Bizimana, the registrar at the General Court-Martial says that unlike the past lockdown when they continued working, this time around, they have decided to halt their operations but will remain on standby in case any new matter comes up.

“We are not working now. However, anytime we can work because you know there are some cases where people should be charged and you cannot keep them in prison without charging them. We will be handling such but in strict observation of the standard operating procedures”, said Bizimana.

Prior to the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the general court-martial under the leadership of Lt General Andrew Gutti would only seat on Mondays and Tuesdays. Asked how the court is dealing with old matters given the developments, Bizimana said that they would wait to see what would happen in the 42 days.

He also said that they are yet to adopt video conferencing technology as it is with the civilian courts due to the absence of the facilities in the court. He however hastened to add that they might try it in the near future once management considers it after the lockdown.

The Court-Martial which derives its mandate from Section 119 of the UPDF Act, often tries serving military officers and civilians found with weapons, ammunition and any other equipment that is ordinarily the monopoly of armed forces.

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