Inspector General of police Okoth Martin Ochola has strongly warned his officers to desist from torturing people saying that individual officers shall take responsibility for their actions.
Ochola in a circular which was distributed in all police facilities across the country said that actions taken onto police arising out of human rights violations shall be footed by police perpetrators.
“Be informed that a new law, the human rights (enforcement) act 2019 is now in place. Going forward, the entrenchment of human rights in police work will no longer be an option,” Mr Ochola said.
He also said that the law has far reaching consequences on the way police performs its duties and the provision have put a lot of emphasis on personal liability for violation of rights by an officer.
On that note, the IGP informed his men to be cautious not to intentionally harm and torture the public and suspects in custody.
“Important to note is that responsible officers will now be required to personally incur the cost of compensation in the event of an award by court,” he said.
According to the police boss, the common human rights violations by the force that have been documented over the years include but not limited to detention of suspects beyond 48 hours.
The others are torture and denial of a right to a fair hearing like access to a lawyer, corruption and delayed prosecution.
“This is therefore to instruct all unit commanders to ensure that the observation of human rights is adhered to without fail in all your areas of operation,” Mr Ochola said.
Recently, at the just concluded CID retreat in Kibuli, Mr Ochola expressed distress about the continuous human rights commission ranking of Uganda Police Force as the leading human rights violator in the country.
He told the regional CID officers that one of the major challenges facing police is torture of suspects.
About compensation of tortured victims by police, early this year the inspector general of police was summoned by Kampala high court for failure to pay a tune of Shs 48 million to a journalist who was shot during the ‘walk to work campaigns.’
The victim, Mr Gideon Tugume, a former employee of Capital FM, sued Mr Ochola alongside the UPF Director of Human Resource Mr Erasmus Twarahukwa, UPF Undersecretary Mr Rodgers Muhirwa and UPF in general.
Court documents indicated that on May 12, 2011, the Plaintiff (Tugume) was shot in his right leg by a member of the UPF at Kibuye round about while on duty.