WHAT HAPPENED, COURT PROCESS AND FINAL JUDGEMENT AND RULINGS – By Kasozi Kennedy.
The July 2010 Kampala attacks were suicide bombings carried out against crowds watching a screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final match. The attacks claimed 76 lives and left scores injured. Suspects were eventually arrested in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Kenyans arrested included Hussein Agad, Mohammed Adan Abdow and Idris Magoudo who were charged with 76 Counts of Murder.
TAKING PLEA AND ARRAIGNMENT
When they were presented to the Chief Magistrates Court to take plea, the court declined, stating that it did not have the Jurisdiction to try the offences of Murder and Terrorism. The suspects were arraigned BY The Chef Magistrates Court on the 27th of August 2010 but were not to take plea again until being presented to the High Court. On the 18th OF August 2010 a total of 32 were arrested and Charged and 4 of them confessed to Murder with the late Joan Kagezi representing the State Attorney.
BEGINNING OF THE COURT HEARINGS
Court Hearing started on the 2nd of September 2010. Investigations into the attacks and related crimes were still ongoing.
Hiccups arose when the suspects were committed to the High Court of Uganda as the Kenyan and Tanzanian Suspects sought to challenge the manner in which they were extradited from their respective countries on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The challenge was through a petition to the Constitutional Court of Uganda. On October 22nd 2014, the Court dismissed their petition.
FIRST SUSPECT SENTENCED
In 2011 a Suspect Edris Nsubuga, aged 31 was sentenced to three concurrent 25 years sentences over his involvement in the attacks. He was spared the death sentence after having shown regret for his involvement. Additionally a 24 year old Muhammound Mugisha was sentenced to Five years imprisonment for conspiring to commit terrorism, these two people were the lead prosecution witnesses in the trial that followed.
THE MURDER OF LEAD PROSECUTOR JOAN KAGEZI
In March 2015 the trial of 13 other men accused of participating in the 2010 Kampala bombings began at the High Court Of Uganda, however the Trial faced an indefinite suspension after the gruesome Murder of the lead prosecutor Joan Kagezi on March 30TH 2015. The proceedings had to stall until the Directorate of Public Prosecution assembled a new team of lead prosecutors.
FINAL JUDGEMENT, CONVICTION AND ACQUITTAL
On the 26th of May 2016 the HIS Lordship Justice Owiny Dollo Alfonse passed judgment in this matter.
The Persons Accused were ; Hussan Agad , Idris Magendu , Isa Ahmed Luyima , Hassan Haruna LuyImA , Abubakari Batematyo and Yanhya Suleiman Mbuthia, Habib Suleiman Njoroge , Omar Awadh Omar , Mohammed Hamid Sulaiman , Selemon Hijar Njamandondo , Mohammad Ali , Dr.Ismail Kalule and Musafar Luyima.
In the Judgment read by Justice Justice Owiny Dollo Alfonse 8 of the 13 accused were convicted of 79 counts of Murder and 10 Counts of attempted Murder and 5 accused persons were acquitted the convicted people are; Isa Luyima, Haruna Luyima, Muzafar Luyima, Hassan Hussein Agade, Idris Magondu, Habib Suleiman Njoroge, Habib Suleiman Njoroge, Selemani Hijar Nyamandondo and Mohammed Ali Mohammed.
The Acquitted people include; Abubakari Batemyetto Omar Awadh Omar, Yahya Suleiman Munutha, Mohammed Hamid Suleiman and Dr. Ismael Kalule.
SUMMARISED PROCEDURE OF THE TRIAL
The Brief Procedure adopted in this period of trying the Prosecutions;
INVESTIGATIONS; after the bombings the Security Institutions in Uganda took up investigations on how and who carried out the bombings.
ARREST AND CHARGING; the suspects discovered during the process of investigation were consequently arrested and charged with offences to including, Terrorism and Murder.
ARRAIGNMENT; the suspects were taken to court and arraigned , that is told the offences they had been arrested for and were accused of in the Chief magistrate Court however they were not allowed to do take plea.
APPOINTMNENT OF ASSESORS ; the high court to which the suspects were to be transferred to and were to take plea scheduled an appointment of Assessors who were to help assist court in the hearing of the terror suspects and aid in the determination of whether they were guilty of the offences they were guilty of.
NOTE ; assessors are people who don’t have to have a legal background appointed by the high Court to enable it have an ordinary persons view in determining the outcome of a criminal session after all evidence has been adduced , admitted and scrutinized by the court of law. Their view is valued however it is not binding on the Judge in making his or her decision on determining acquittal or guilty verdict.
SETTING A DATE FOR HEARING; the court then sets a date for hearing and on that date the prosecution opened the prosecution case against the suspects as the representative of the state and has various witnesses examined who included Edris Nsubuga and Mahmoud Mugisha who were convicted and spared the Death penalty.
CLOSURE OF THE PROSECUTION CASE; once the prosecution was done with stating its case by Examining witnesses and adducing evidence then it closed the its case.
DETERMINIG WHETHER THERE IS A CASE TO ANSWER; once the prosecution case was closed the Court had to determine whether the evidence raise to it and the testimonies of various witnesses was sufficient to establish a case against them, and the, Court found they had a case to answer.
FINDING THE DEFENCE WITH A CASE TO ANSWER; on finding a the accused persons with a case to answer and a reply to the prosecution admitted evidence and testimonies the accused all denied ever having participated in knowing about the plot to carry out the July 2010 Bombings. And from this point the Prosecution carried the role of linking each of the accused to the direct participation in the plot to bomb the particular places that were attacked once this was concluded the Court was to pass Judgment as to its finding from all evidence raised at trial.
JUDGEMENT AND SENTENCING; on the 26th of May 2016 the court passed Judgment to which 8 of the 13 accused people were found guilty of 79 counts of Murder and 10 counts of attempted Murder only 5 of the 13 accused people were acquitted of all charges against them.
On 27th of May 2016 his Lordship Alfonse Owiny Dollo sentenced the persons who were convicted.
By Kasozi Kennedy