Human Rights Defenders Condemn Police Over Makindye Court Raid

1519 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Uganda NCHRD has condemned actions by the police during and the raid on Makindye Chief Magistrates court on Wednesday.

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Uganda (NCHRD) has condemned actions by the police during and the raid on Makindye Chief Magistrate's court on Wednesday.

Groups of people claiming to be supporters of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura on Wednesday camped at Makindye Chief Magistrate's court and threatened to assault lawyers in the Kayihura case.

IGP Kayihura was expected at Makindye following court order for him and seven of his commanders to appear and answer charges related to torture. Neither the IGP nor any of his commanders responded to the summons.
 
And now human rights defenders have issued a joint statement criticizing the police for taking no action on a rowdy crowd that stormed court to protest against Kayihura's trial.
 
In a joint statement, Chapter Four Uganda, Defend Defenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) say police's inaction is not only a threat to the rule of law, but also a hindrance to progress of defending human rights and dispensation of justice.
  
In their statement, the human rights defenders noted that the conduct of the police at the destructive behavior of protesters is a clear abdication of duty to ensure public safety for all Ugandans.
 
"Police agencies should in all circumstances respect the rights of individuals while enforcing the law. If they fail to do so, they must be held accountable for their actions," said Brenda Kugonza, the National Coordinator of the NCHRD-U.
 
Hassan Shire, the Executive Director of Defend Defenders says in the statement that the failure by the police to act appropriately as the mob interfered with court proceedings is symbolic of the continued selective application of the Public Order Management Act.
Sheila Muwanga, the Deputy Director FHRI said that police's stance as a rowdy crowd threatened officers of court is not only a threat to rule of law, but also a hindrance to progress of defending human rights and dispensation of justice.

The human rights defenders appealed to government to adhere to Articles 16 and 18 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers to ensure that lawyers are able to perform all their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.

They also demanded for an investigation into circumstances behind the harassment, intimidation and obstruction of Wednesday's court proceedings.

Article 20 of the 1995 Constitution requires all organs and agencies of government to respect, uphold and protect the rights and freedoms of all individuals and groups.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.