DPP, Police Seek to Waive 48-hour Detention Rule for Terrorism, Corruption Suspects

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In short
The Inspector General of police (IGP) General Kale Kayihura says the laws which have continuously made police work impossible were inherited from the British Customary law which was known as the common law and continue to thrive in Uganda long after independence.

The Police and the Directorate of Public Prosecution have received a go-ahead from the Ministry of Internal Affairs to initiate a process that will exempt them from applying the 48 hour detention rule for terrorism and Corruption suspects.

The move calls for a constitutional review of Article 23 (4) of the 1995 Constitution which provides that; "A person arrested or detained for the purpose of bringing him or her before a court in execution of an order of a court; or upon reasonable suspicion of his or her having committed or being about to commit a criminal offence under the laws of Uganda, shall, if not earlier released, be brought to court as soon as possible but in any case not later than forty-eight hours from the time of his or her arrest."

Police has quite often been castigated for holding suspects beyond the mandatory 48 hours before trial.  A Recent report by the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) indicated that complaints on detention beyond 48 hours topped the list of human rights violations recorded over the last one year.

The force has also been challenged by suspects who claim to be held in contravention of constitutional requirements.

The July 2010 terrorism suspects alleged to have masterminded the bombings in Kyadondo and Ethiopian Village, Kabalagala dragged the police to the constitutional court on similar grounds. The case has now taken into its fourth year pending conclusion.

But the Inspector General of police (IGP) General Kale Kayihura says the laws which have continuously made police work impossible were inherited from the British Customary law which was known as the common law and continue to thrive in Uganda long after independence.

Kayihura explains that the current justice system in which police operates has proved to be impossible for investigations to be complete within 48 hours.

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Stephen Kagoda, the Ministry of Internal Affairs Permanent Secretary, observes a need amend the constitutionally mandated 48 hours of pre-trial detention in order to help police in criminal case management and stop mob justice.

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The DPP Justice Michael Chibita says, the two institutions; police and DPP are working together to ensure that the law makes an exemption to the rule to help in criminal case management

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