56 suspected Kasese attackers refuse to take plea before Army Court
Posted Wednesday, August 6 2014 at 11:02
All the accused persons and others still at large were jointly charged with 17 counts, including murder and attempted murder
The army General Court Martial sitting in Kasese town will today rule on whether the 56 accused persons in the July 5 attack in parts of Kasese district shall be tried by the army court or by a civilian court as applied for by their lawyers.
Silence and anxiety gripped Kasese Town residents on Tuesday as the lawyers of the suspected attackers in the deadly tribal clashes advised their clients not to enter plea.
The accused persons were represented by six lawyers including Capt. Ronald Iduli, Mr Eron Kiiza, Mr Chan Geoffrey Masereka, Mr Geoffrey Bigogo, and Mr Arthur Ayorekire who questioned the jurisdiction of the army court to try civilians.
Mr Bigogo, one of the defence lawyers asked court to acquit the accused persons on claims that prosecution failed to avail the principal offender Lance Corp. Robinson Bwambale.
Mr Sibendire further argued that “It was not enough in the charge sheet for civilians to appear before court martial yet the principle offender who is the soldier is not brought in court.”
Army General Court Martial chaired by Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga, on Tuesday afternoon adjourned court to today(Wednesday) to deliver his ruling on whether to continue prosecuting the suspects or refer their cases to Civil Courts for trial. Consequently, all the accused, including nine Rwenzururu Kingdom ministers did not take plea on the advice of their lawyers.
All the accused persons and others still at large were jointly charged with 17 counts, including murder and attempted murder. According to prosecution, the accused persons on July 5, this year while in Kasese Town and Bigando village, caused the death of 12 people, including a police officer by stabbing them with knives and pangas. They are also accused of attempting to kill five other people in the same areas by using an SMG AK 47 BA361579 gun, the monopoly of defence forces.