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DPP ready to prosecute Mumbere on terrorism charges

Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere(L). File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Director of Public Prosecutions Jane Frances Abodo says her office is set to proceed and prosecute the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere and his co accused on terrorism related charges.

The charges stem from Mumbere’s arrest following a raid by the army on his palace on November 27th, 2016. The king was picked up together with 203 others including royal guards and kingdom officials. They were later arraigned at the Jinja Chief Magistrates Court on 41 charges related to terrorism, aggravated robbery and murder among others and were remanded to different prisons including Nalufenya.

But Mumbere was later in January 2017, granted bail by the then High Court International Crimes Division Judge Eva Luswata and his movements restricted within Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso districts and he is also required him to report to court once every month.

The King was also cautioned against making statements that might incite violence among his subjects. Some of his co accused were released on bail in different phases, although the information tendered before the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee last month shows that 80 people remain on remand to date with uncertainty when they will ever be released or tried.

But speaking to Uganda Radio Network on Tuesday, the DPP Abodo says that they are ready to try the king but there are a few issues such as limited numbers of judicial officers in the judiciary, shortage of funding and the jittery in prisons since they follow the order of first come first out.

According to Abodo, this is what is delaying the trial of Mumbere and other cases like for Jamilu Mukulu, the former Commander of the Allied Democratic Forces who is also jointly charged with 38 others on charges related to terrorism, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Abodo says there are a number of issues playing out such as the Judge who was handling the case previously being elevated to the Court of Appeal, adding that at the International Crimes Division, cases don’t just get heard immediately. She said they have to first go through the pre-trial hearing as required by law before the full trial starts presided over by three Judges, but for them as the DPP, they are ready.

When contacted over the matter, the Judiciary Public Relations Officer Jameson Karemani said that the Judiciary is working on the replacement of Justice Eva Luswata who was elevated, and also working on the budgeting for the case to be disposed of.

Prior to the stalling of the case some time back in 2019, the Judiciary had listed Justice Duncan Gaswaga, Eva Luswata and Susan Okalany as the trial Judges for Mumbere and his co accused.

Abodo made these disclosures to Uganda Radio Network on the sidelines of the launch of the fifth office of the DPP Strategic Plan for the Period of FY 2020/2022 to 2024/2025 in Kampala.

Abodo said the plan will guide prosecutorial agencies in the country to conduct, exercise and perform their duties under a coordinated, cohesive, fair, transparent and consistent justice system with the aim of enhancing public confidence in the criminal justice system and ensuring a crime-free society which is critical for Uganda’s socio economic transformation.

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