Wednesday January 16 2013

Law society faults DPP on prosecution of legislators


The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has accused the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for “violating” the Constitution by prosecuting two Members of Parliament.

The ULS said the prosecution of Mr Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkiizi West) and Mr Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), who were recently detained for over 48 hours, was a violation of their rights.

When contacted, the DPP, Mr Richard Butera, said his office would address the issue in court.

“That is a legal issue that should be raised in court. It will be argued it court and we shall handle it there,” Mr Butera told the Daily Monitor yesterday.

Recently, the police detained the two, among many other MPs, following their remarks that the government is complicity in the death of Cerinah Nebanda, the former Butaleja Woman MP.

The ULS president, Mr James Mukasa Sebugenyi, did not answer our repeated calls.

However, in a January 3 letter to the DPP, the society said the prosecution of Dr Baryomunsi and others was a violation of the Constitution.

Though the ULS letter did not make any recommendation, it referred to other ‘similar’ cases where the courts stood their ground.

“In the face of the constitutional violation of the suspects’ rights, your office found it fit to sanction charges. We believe you are aware of the decision of the Constitutional Court in the Dr Kiiza Besigye Vs Attorney General petition,” the letter reads in part.

In the above petition, the court said it could not “sanction any continued prosecution of the petitioner where, during the proceedings, the human rights of the petitioners have been violated”.

Another reference was also made to Justice Ralph Ochan’s decision to order the release of the 2009 Buganda riots suspects who had been detained beyond the 48 hours provided for under the Constitution.