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Besigye treason trial quashed

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by ByaseL, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Oct 13, 2010
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    Dr Kizza Besigye yesterday called for the resignation of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General after the Constitutional Court ordered that he and 10 others be discharged from any further prosecution arising from the treason charges they have been facing since 2005. All the five judges said they could not allow continued trial of the suspects when their fundamental human rights were being grossly violated by state agents.

    Unfair trial

    “No matter how strong the evidence against them may be, no fair trial can be achieved and any subsequent trial would be a waste of time and an abuse of court process,” read the lead judgment, written by Justice Alice Mpagi Bahigeine.

    The other justices were George Engwau, Amos Twinomujuni, Constance Byamugisha and Augustine Nshimye. Dr Besigye, the opposition Forum for Democratic Change president, who was present at court, said the DPP Richard Buteera and AG Khidhu Makubuya should resign because state agents had used them to concoct charges.

    But Mr Buteera said Dr Besigye’s conclusions were baseless because the evidence was not the subject matter at the trial. “As you know, I have never investigated that case. Personally, I have never concocted anything against Dr Besigye,” he said. “But I don’t know on what grounds somebody can jump to such conclusions when the matter has not been determined before the trial court, where the evidence was presented,” Mr Buteera told Daily Monitor by telephone.

    Prof. Makubuya yesterday declined to comment, saying he had not read the judgment.
    The landmark ruling, which now blocks Dr Besigye and his co-accused from any further trial at the High Court, Bushenyi and Arua Chief Magistrate Courts, forestalls a situation like in 2006 where Dr Besigye spent much of his campaign time between prison, court appearances and campaigns

    In their ruling, the judges said the petitioners’ lawyer, Mr David Mpanga, adduced evidence with “mathematical accuracy”. In ordering for the discharge of the Dr Besigye and his co-accused, the judges pointed out that the attack on the High Court premises by security agents on November 16, 2005 and March 1, 2007 had created conditions whereby the accused were at the danger of failing to get rights to – fair trial, presumption of innocence, had violated the cardinals of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.

    “Can any trial resulting from tainted proceedings as has been described in this petition be fair within the meaning of Article 28 and 44(c) of the Constitution? We have anxiously examined evidence from which the petitioners draw this conclusion. We have arrived at a similar conclusion that no trial arises from proceedings bearing a history like the one described in this petition can ever be said to be fair within the meaning of [the Constitution)”.

    Principal Judge James Ogoola’s poem “The Rape of the Temple”, chronicling the two absurd sieges at High Court, was quoted by the judges as a testimony of a colleague who saw security agents invade court.

    The recitation of this poem in court yesterday by registrar Asaph Ntegye was one of the few comic moments, in what otherwise seemed to be a tense session.

    However, at the conclusion of the 56-page ruling and with clarity that the state had lost, the crowd of mainly opposition supporters ruptured into roars of “Besigye Oyee! FDC Oyee! Winning Oyee!” Opposition MPs led by Erias Lukwago (Kampala Central) hugged Dr Besigye as they congratulated him. And Dr Besigye used the moment to ask the electorate to vote the “disgraceful” government out of office next year and pick leaders with integrity.
  2. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    Oct 13, 2010
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    Sometimes justice delayed is better than no justice, at all.