Crime & InvestigationSpecial Reports

Muslim Clerics Murder Suspects Challenge International Crimes Court Trial

At least 32 suspects accused of masterminding the killing of Muslim clerics around the country last year  have challenged the powers of Uganda’s International Crimes Division court to try them.

This is the first case to be handled by Uganda’s International Crimes Division which follows the Rome Statute just like the International Criminal Court in Hague, approved Netherlands.

The suspects through their lawyers led by Ladislaus Rwakafuzi and Fred Muwema told the panel of three judges led by Ezekiel Muhanguzi, advice Percy Tuhaise and Jane Kiggundu that there should be a pre-trial session so that another judge can be able to confirm whether the charges can stand before a court of ICC’s stature.

The lawyers said the convicts were charged of terrorism and murder among other offences which can be tried by the High Court rather than the International Crimes Division.

“The High Court has a mandate to try domestic offences like murder and terrorism which are not international crimes. The suspects think it is wrong to try the domestic offences by ICC, ” Rwakafuzi told court.


Muwema also told court there was need for court to look into the sustainability of the charges levied against the accused.

“The Director of Public Prosecutions should produce evidence to prove the charge of crimes against humanity as levied on the suspects. He ought to produce evidence showing systematic attacks on different religious sects in the Muslim faith,” Muwema noted.


Earlier, the Principle State Attorney Lino Anguzo had asked court for more time to get acquainted with the case since he is still new after the previous lead prosecutor had been given other assignments.

Anguzo also told court the prosecution had obtained additional evidence linking the suspects to the crimes, stressing that they need more time to disclose it to the defence team.

In response however, Rwakafuzi warned that in case the prosecution fails to finalise with preparations for the case early enough, court ought to grant bail to the accused to enjoy temporary freedom.

The panel of judges adjourned the case to August  9,2016.

The suspects include Sheikh Yunus Kamoga, Sheikh Siraje Kawooya, Abdulsalam, Abdulhamid Sematimba, Rashid Jingo, Twaha Sekkitto, Yusuf Kakande alias Abdallah, Sheikh Murta Mudde Bukenya, Kakim Kinene Muswaswa, Muzamilu Kasawuli, Arafa Serunjoji, Badru Bukenya, Alex Okot, Joseph Olanya, and Amir Kinene.

Others are Charles Okidi, Sheikh Fahad Kalungi,  Pte Arajab Mubaje, Aisha Nakasibante,  Issa Matanda,  Abdul Ratif Byamukama, Asadu Ssemwongerere, Yusuf Sentamu, Solomon Kibirige, Safiyi Wadwali,  Swafi Shafi, Hamuza Kasirye, , Robert Bampikye, Muhamadi Kalodo, Musa Isa Mubiru, Ismail Ssentongo and Iga George William

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