The UPDF High Command has today re-appointed Lt Gen Gutti to head the military court as well as all members of the bench.
The appointment comes on the heels of the arrest of the former Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura and a number of senior police officers who served during his tenure. They are currently detained at the Makindye Military Barracks where they have reportedly been questioned on a number of issues.
While they have not yet been formally charged, it is alleged that they were involved in crimes ranging from espionage, murder and repatriation of refugees to neighbouring countries without due judicial process. It is anticipated that they will soon face the Military Court Martial as has been the case for all those, military and civilian suspects, allegedly involved in crimes of a nature that engages military equipment.
However, a number of legal brains and members of the public have since the arrest opined that Lt Gen Gutti cannot preside over trial of his senior, Kale Kayihura, a four-star General. They speculated that UPDF would appoint an Army Court Chairman of a rank senior to that of Gen Kayihura.
The UPDF Spokesperson, Brig Karemire has now cleared the air saying that seniority of the rank of the Army Court’s Chairman is not a condition for trial.
“We strictly follow the law, anyone appointed Chairman of the General Court Martial can preside over trial of any officer of any rank who appears before him,” Brig Karemire told SoftPower News.
Asked when Gen Kayihura is likely to appear before the Army Court, Brig Karemire was as cagey on divulging details as he was when the operation to arrest Gen Kayihura came to the fore following summons by Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi.
Brig Karemire issued a 2-paragraph press statement on Wednesday last week, the day Gen Kayihura was arrested.
The press statement has been widely touted as diplomatic and that the operations sorrounding the arrest, interrogation and expected trial of the former police chief are shrouded by a high level of military obscurity and compartmentalization of information.
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