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Don’t Leave Investigations to Police, they are Human Rights Violators – MPs Tell DPP

 

Lawmakers on the Human Rights Committee of Parliament have asked the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions – ODPP not to leave investigations of human rights abuses in the hands of the police because they are also perpetrators.

The legislators led by Fox Odoi Oywelowo, who is the West Budama North County legislator made observation while interfacing with DPP officials on the status of human rights in the country on Monday.

It followed submissions by John Baptist Asiimwe, the Deputy DPP that several cases are still pending in court due to slow pace of investigations, resource constraints and under-staffing within DPP, police and the the judiciary among others that have to prolonged stay of suspects on remand without swift trial.

The MPs had demanded to know why the DPP had taken longer than necessary to produce evidence in the ongoing trial hearing of murder MPs Allan Ssewanyana and Muhammad Ssegirinya of Makindye West and Kawempe Divisions respectively, who are suspects in the September 2021 Masaka killings. The duo has been on remand for eight months now.

Flavia Nabagabe Kalule, the Kassanda District Woman Representative also pointed out that DPP had delayed to commence pretrial hearing of charges against the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere and his royal guards since their arrest in 2016.

Mumbere, and over 60 of his royal guards are charged of treason, murder, terrorism, and aggravated robbery before the International Crimes Division. It follows a raid on the Palace by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces – UPDF soldiers on November 26th, 2016 in Kasese.

But Asiimwe explained that the prolonged detention must not be interpreted as DPP’s failure to handle the cases, adding that they rely on police investigations before files are submitted to them for perusal.

The Committee Chairperson Odoi observed that with the numerous reports implicating the police institution for perpetuating human rights abuses in the country, the DPP should consider taking charge of prosecution led investigations more reliable and speedy trial.


Asiimwe also told the Committee that DPP is ready to adduce evidence in the Mumbere pre-trail hearing slated to commence on May 23 this month because the DPP is ready with evidence to be adduced against the accused person.


Under Article 120 of the Constitution, the DPP is mandated to direct police to investigate any information of criminal nature and expeditiously report it, to institute criminal proceedings against any person or authority in any court with competent jurisdiction other than the court martial.

The DPP is also mandated take over and continue any criminal proceedings instituted by any person, and to discontinue any criminal proceedings at any stage before judgment is delivered. 

By URN