Uganda: No More Firing Squad for UPDF Soldiers, Says Top Officer

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has said, it will never carry out public firing squads for its soldiers.

Uganda last carried out public firing execution of its soldiers 21 years ago.

This was after two of their own confessed to have killed an Irish Catholic Priest, Father Declan O’Toole, his driver and a passenger in an ambush as they travelled on the Moroto-Kotido road in 2002.

Brig Godard Busingye, the chief of legal services of the UPDF, yesterday said firing squad is no longer necessary because Uganda is now peaceful.

“For the case of UPDF, we believe in popular justice, once one of us commits an offense, which attracts a death penalty, historically, he or she would be tried, and if the circumstances were such that they could not be tried by the ordinary courts or general court, he or she would be tried by the field court martial,” Brig Busingye said.

Explaining why they stopped the firing squads in the field court martial, Brig Busingye said they were compelled by human rights advocates and the general public who pushed for its disbandment since the same process did not give the condemned people chance to appeal as demanded by the Constitution.

He was speaking on the side-lines of a training organised by the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) in Kampala for law enforcement officers.

The two weeks’ training targeted law enforcement officers in international human rights law and pre-trial detention.

“They (human rights advocates), reasoned that it [firing squad] was relevant when we had insurgencies but since we have peaceful now, there is no need for it,” he said.

Corporal James Omediyo and Pte Abdullah Muhammad were the last group of soldiers to be publicly put under firing squad for the murder of the aforementioned Irish priest.

During the firing squad process, the duo were tied on trees, blindfolded and shot to death.

About one thousand locals watched the execution. Following the famous landmark ruling of Susan Kigula, currently, the death sentence has since remained on the law books but it is no longer mandatory.


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Author : Monitor

Publish date : 2021-06-02 16:32:03

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