Kampala. With barely a week remaining for the much awaited court appearance of the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, to plead to the charges of torture in connection with the recent brutality of the police meted out to Dr Kizza Besigye’s supporters, a total of 20 private lawyers had by press time yesterday, been lined up to take on the general come that day.
According to the list released by one of the lawyers, Mr Daniel Walyemera that this newspaper has seen, the 20 lawyers are part of the Network for public interest lawyers (NETPIL), a lawyers’ network with a core objective to represent the poor in court in public interest cases.
The 20 lawyers, who will prosecute Gen Kayihura by way of private prosecution, will be led by Abdullah Kiwanuka from Lukwago & Co Advocates.
Other notable lawyers are: Makerere don, Dr Kabumba Busingye, Jude Mbabaali and Mr Daniel Walyemera.
Gen Kayihura is expected to appear before the Makindye Chief Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday next week to plead to torture charges contrary to section 4, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act of 2012.
The police chief, who was summoned by Makindye court last week, is expected to be charged before the same court alongside seven of his senior commanders with some having since been suspended from the Force.
Speaking to Daily Monitor last Thursday, Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, said as a Force they had not yet seen the criminal summons against their boss and other officers.
Number of advocates
Explaining the huge number of advocates to prosecute this single case, Mr Walyemera said as the law profession, they have decided to come out in big numbers to defend the rule of law which is being infringed upon by the police.
He explained further that torture is a very serious offence that should see every lawyer and citizen, rise against it. “Torture is a very serious offence and every citizen, especially the lawyers, journalists, and every other profession, must rise up to fight it. There is a growing level of impunity within the Uganda Police to the extent that the head of Uganda Police, General Kayihura, calls a press conference to justify torture.” Mr Walyemera said.
He added “as defenders of the poor and ignorant, we must bring its perpetrators to account.”
Explaining his role on the prosecuting team, lawyer Kiwanuka said “first of all, I am one of the composition of lawyers who are advocating the rule of law and good governance in this country and I can’t just simply sit and watch as human rights abuses are going on, especially by the police. We opted to take on the police to answer to why they acted contrary to the oath they took and the Constitution. We are ready to fight up to the last person.”
Equally, lawyer George Musisi when contacted said “personally, it is all about justice to prevail because there were certainly a lot of offences committed by the police and they should be brought to book.”
Counsel Saphina Nakulima also weighed-in and said: “I felt that as IGP, he should be at the forefront of enforcing human rights but instead he came out to applaud what his juniors had done, to undermine the rule of law. I didn’t expect that to come from the IGP who is even a lawyer by profession; at least this should have come from his junior. Kayihura should individually answer.”
To be summoned in the media
In a related development, Daily Monitor has learnt that Gen. Kayihura and seven of his senior officers will this week be served with the criminal summonses through the media.
Explaining why the lawyers, who are privately prosecuting this case have resorted to serving the senior officers through the media, legally known as ‘substituted service’, Mr Kiwanuka said this was intended to leave no doubt of service come that day of court.
“Well, the other officers charged alongside Kayihura declined service of the criminal summons saying they should be served through the IGP who is their boss. So I got all their copies and dropped them at the IGP’s office in the central registry and receipt of service was given to that effect. We have also decided to serve them through the media so that we do away with any doubt of them not being served and should they fail to appear on August 10, we shall present a copy of service in the media and ask court to issue a warrant of arrest for them” Mr Kiwanuka said in a telephone interview yesterday
According to the charge sheet, its alleged that Gen. Kayihura along with the aforenamed senior officers and other police commanders still at large, being superior officers of the Force, in various places in and around Kampala, between 2011 and 2016, most notably on the 13/07/2016 and 14/07/2016, are liable for the acts of torture committed against supporters of Dr Besigye.