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Ugandan president raps ruling on Court Martial
www.chinaview.cn 2006-02-07 12:19:07

    KAMPALA, Feb. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has rapped the Constitutional Court ruling stopping the Court Martial from trying civilians arrested with guns, according to The New Vision on Tuesday.

    Museveni said that he would fight the ruling when speaking at ameeting to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) which falls on Feb. 6, 2006.

    The Constitution Court ruled last Tuesday that the General Court Martial has no jurisdiction and is incompetent to try opposition leader Kizza Besigye and 22 others for terrorism and illegal possession of arms.

    In its ruling on the petition filed by the Uganda Law Society, the Constitutional Court said only civilians who jointly commit offenses with soldiers could be tried by the army court.

    "The ruling of the Constitutional Court that the army can't try civilians with guns is something we can't agree with. This means the methods we have been using in Karamoja to court martial warriors with guns should be stopped. I don't agree. The government has appealed to the Supreme Court but we shall also fight it politically," Museveni was quoted as saying.

    Museveni said, "there is no reason why civilians should acquire guns for illegal purposes. Once a civilian acquires a gun, he becomes a voluntary soldier. We shall fight the decision legally and politically. We may also call for a referendum so that Ugandans can decide."

    The function at Gulu's Kaunda Ground was attended by First Deputy Premier Lt. Gen. Moses Ali, Security Minister Betty Akech, Defense Minister Amama Mbabazi and permanent secretary Brig. Noble Mayombo. Enditem

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