Wednesday, 10 June 2020 00:00

STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, UGANDA ON TORTURE AND OTHER FORMS OF CRUEL, INHUMANE AND DEGRADING TREATMENT OF SUSPECTS

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STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS, UGANDA ON TORTURE AND OTHER FORMS OF CRUEL, INHUMANE AND DEGRADING TREATMENT OF SUSPECTS

 

Following recent complaints and acrimony by various stakeholders of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding torture of suspects, the Office has found it important to state its position on torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of suspects.

 

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Uganda is a creature of Article 120 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995. The constitutional mandate of the ODPP is to prosecute criminal cases in any court in Uganda apart from the court martial, and to direct Police to investigate information of a criminal nature. The functions of the ODPP are geared towards the reduction of crime and the pursuit of justice. In exercising its authority and mandate, the ODPP is enjoined to have regard to public interest, the interest of administration of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.

 

In accordance with its mandate, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions does not condone the use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment on suspects, and strongly discourages security agencies from carrying out interrogations that make use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment.

 

Torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment are a violation of the law. They are ineffective as a means of extracting reliable information. Moreover, these forms of treatment negatively impact the physical and mental health of suspects. They have far-reaching consequences for Uganda because they damage its reputation, and undermine its credibility when it pursues international human rights.

 

Torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment are a violation of the law

 

Security agencies are required to observe a wide range of international and national treaties, conventions, and laws that prohibit torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and the prohibition is absolute under all circumstances.

 

Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 provides,

 

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

 

Article 1 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984 which was ratified by Uganda in 1986 defines torture. It states:

 

“… ‘torture’ means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity…”

 

Article 2 (2) of the Convention prohibits torture as it states:

 

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

 

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 which is the Supreme law of the land and has binding force on all authorities and persons throughout Uganda provides in Article 24 that:

 

No person shall be subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

 

In addition, Article 44 (a) provides that there shall be no derogation from the enjoyment of the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 

Moreover, according to Article 20 (2), the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups enshrined in the Constitution shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons.

 

The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act was enacted in 2012, and also prohibits torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in its Section 3, and renders them punishable offences.

 

Therefore, it is resolved that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Uganda:

 

1.     Condemns the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as interrogation strategies and calls upon all Security agencies including the Uganda Police Force (UPF), Internal Security Organisation (ISO), External Security Organisation (ESO) to explicitly ban the use of such treatment and enforce all laws and regulations prohibiting its use.

 

2.     Shall order an investigation into every torture allegation that is brought to its attention.

 

3.     Shall prosecute suspected perpetrators of torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment against whom there is sufficient evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Frances ABODO

 

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

 

 

 

10th June 2020

 

Read 1428 times Last modified on Saturday, 20 June 2020 18:10
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