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Jamilu Mukulu, 28 Others Reject Video Conference Trial

The suspected who are facing terrorism, murder, and aggravated robbery charges, alongside the suspected ADF Commander Jamilu Mukulu declined to appear before the International Crimes Division of the High Court today on grounds that they did not have any consent to be tried through this method of technology.
15 Mar 2021 17:03
One of the relatives of the accused persons and their lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima at court.

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27 members of the Allied Democratic Forces have objected to facing a trial through video conferencing technology.

The suspected who are facing terrorism, murder, and aggravated robbery charges, alongside the suspected ADF Commander Jamilu Mukulu declined to appear before the International Crimes Division of the High Court today on grounds that they did not have any consent to be tried through this method of technology. 

The Judiciary opted to try all inmates via video conferencing during the COVID-19 lockdown last year as a measure to stop them from mingling with the public and avoid the spread of the virus.  At the onset of the trial in December, Mukulu and two others refused to appear through the video link and requested that they should be presented physically before the court.

As a result, the judges shifted their base to Luzira for the hearing of the case, until today, when they opted to revert to the video link due to logistical issues. Instead, more of the suspects joined Mukulu in rejecting the virtual trial. Only ten out of the 38 people on the charge sheet appeared through the link.

Corporal Warder Joab Mukungu told the court that Yakoub Kyessa the other member of the group missed the session because he is sitting for the Uganda Certificate of Education exams from the Luzira Prisons examinations centre.

Ali Kabambwe, one of the ten that appeared in court via video conferencing today said that the recent trial of LRA warlord Dominic Ongwen moved on smoothly because he was appearing physically in court, yet the Netherlands is considered a high-risk country that has registered several cases of COVID-19 compared to Uganda.

//Cue in; “Kubanga ensonga zange… 

Cue out…okundeta ku videolink.”//

Kabambwe argued that the ICC has the best machinery but never at one point tried Ongwen via video conferencing. 

But in response, the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lino Anguzu told the court that today's proceedings were not so much substantive to the trial since the matter was coming up for mention. Anguzu said today they were only updating the court on the progress of the previous orders.

The Judges comprising Michael Elubu, Dr Andrew Bashaija and Lady Justice Susan Okalany,o apologized for having done the session via video conferencing without the consent of the accused persons saying they couldn't handle it in prison due to logistical issues.

//Cue in; “First of all...

Cue out..to proceed today.”//

Jamilu Mukulu and 37 others are facing a string of charges including terrorism, murder, aggravated robbery, aiding and abetting terrorism, crimes against humanity attempted murder and belonging to a terrorist organization. The prosecution alleges that the group and others still at large committed the said offences between 2011 and 2015 in different parts of the country.

It is also alleged that the group masterminded the murder of several Muslim clerics like Sheikh Yunus Abubaker Mandanga, and the top Shia Cleric Dakitoor Muwaya who was shot dead before the group attacked Bugiri police station and killed four police officers.

The evidence before the court indicates that the said crimes were committed for economic, social, political and religious reasons with funding and training from neighbouring countries. But the group has denied the charges.

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