By Keefa Nuwahereza
Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, who was early this week remanded to Luzira prisons until March 30, 2020, is likely to rot in prison together with other remandees, after the Chief Justice Bart Katurbee suspended all court proceedings due to the Cronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to a Circular issued by the Chief Justice dated March 19, 2020, there will be no court business until after the 32-day COVID-19 Curfew declared by President Yoweri Museveni elapses.
That means that all suspects on remand shall not be brought to court until at least after April 22th, or thereafter.
Hence Gen. Tumukunde who was supposed to appear in court on March 30th for his bail applicants will have to wait it out until the next convenient court sitting.
Chief Justice Katureebe’s statement reads in part thus;
ADMINISTRATIVE AND CONTINGENCY MEASURES TO PREVENT AND MITIGATE THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) BY THE JUDICIARY
In line with the directives of His Excellence the President of the Republic of Uganda on 18 March, 2020, on the prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Uganda, I hereby issue the following guidelines for the operation of all courts in Uganda;
All court hearings and appearances are hereby suspended for a period of 32 days with effect from 20th, March, 2020. For cases at the stage of submission, the respective courts may advise the counsels/ parties to file written submissions.
During this time, prisoners and remandees shall not be presented to court. Where possible presenting may be done via video link.
All execution proceedings are hereby suspended for the same period of time except where attachment has already taken place.
Courts will continue to handle certificates of urgency and taking plea for serious cases and bail applications. Only the applicant and his/her lawyer, or in the case of bail application, sureties will be allowed on court.
During this time all judicial officers and officers of court shall remain on duty. However, there will be no court appearances. Judicial officers with pending judgements should use this period to complete them. Where possible, Judgments and Rulings should be issued to Parties Online or via E-mail.
All conferences, workshops, meetings and training programmes both local and foreign are hereby suspended for a period of 32 days.
There will be no foreign travels for all Judicial staff save for exceptional circumstances.
In addition to the above guidelines, sanitizers and other preventive measures have already been put in place. Digital thermometers are also being purchased and will be deployed at various court premises.
These guidelines may be revised from time to time in accordance with the National Policy Directives.
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