Judge orders prosecution to retrieve Jamil Mukulu file from Tz court
JUSTICE | The High Court’s International Crimes Division (ICD) has given the state two months to retrieve from a Tanzanian court the record of proceedings that emanated from the extradition of Jamil Mukulu, the leader of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) to Uganda.
Justice Eva Luswata made the order Thursday after Mukulu’s lawyers led by Caleb Alaka and Evans Ochieng argued that during the upcoming pretrial session they would try to punch holes into the whole extradition process thus they needed the whole record.
Mukulu was extradited two years ago after Tanzanian Principal Resident Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha, of the Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court in Dar es Salaam, gave his government ago ahead.
The Tanzanian government sought to extradite Mukulu following the request by the Ugandan government which claimed that the Mukulu was trying to evade justice.
Now when the case came up for conferencing Alaka and Ochieng insisted they need the record of proceedings from the Kisutu court because it can help them fend off some of the charges leveled against some of their clients.
Mukulu’s lawyers also asked for a record of proceedings from the Jinja Chief Magistrates’ Court where the warlord was first charged on arrival in Uganda.
John Bosco Asiimwe, on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), didn’t object to the request but was rather worried about the time it will take to retrieve the records of Tanzania.
Asiimwe who is an assistant DPP estimated it would take about two months for Tanzania to produce the record something he said would delay justice.He said the process will be laborious since the DPP has to go through the Attorney General who will make a contact with the Tanzanians.
Though the accused have been on remand for about three years, Ochieng insisted that his clients can suffer some more but they need the records since it can make or break their case.
“They have been in jail for three years,” Ochieng said, “waiting for two more months can’t be a problem.”
With that, Justice Luswata ordered that records from the Jinja court should be in Kampala by November while those in Tanzania should be in the country by December 17.
However, she warned that should there be any delay she won’t hesitate to make charges such that there is no what she termed as“ abuse of court process.”
Defence team on the spot
At the end of session, Judge Luswata lambasted the defence team for failing to make an application accusing the state of torturing Ali Kabange, alias Munakenya, one of the accused.
In August, Kabange, through Ochieng told court how he was forced out of his detention room and taken to a separate room from where he was tortured and forcefully made to sign some document.
This prompted the soft spoken judge to allow Alaka and Ocheing the licence to file an application to that effect. However, when the judge asked how far they had gone with the matter. they had no option but to admit that they hadn’t done anything.
Alaka had asked for the judge’s forgiveness and more time to file the said application but she was having none of it.
“The way it has been handled shows lack of seriousness or it just shows that actually the accused wasn’t tortured as it was alleged. This court takes torture allegations seriously. I can’t give counsel more time,” Justice Luswata ruled, adding that her ruling doesn’t impede other accused persons from failing applications if they are indeed tortured in custody.
Mukulu, who was arrested in 2015 in Tanzania, was indicted together with 38 others of offences related to terrorism, murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, aiding and abetting terrorism, crimes against humanity and belonging to a terrorist organization stemming from his alleged involvement in rebel activities as the leader of ADF.
Mukulu is accused of launching a rebellion when he formed ADF out of remnants of the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU), terrorising people in Western Uganda areas of Rwenzori leading to death of many.
Prosecution alleges that Mukulu masterminded the killing of various Muslim Sheikhs in Uganda between 2013 and 2015.
When he first appeared in court early this year, Mukulu protested his innocence and blamed the Ugandan government for a series of murders of prominent Muslims that authorities have pinned on the ADF.