Death Penalty Worldwide

Uganda

Last updated on May 14, 2014

General

Official Country Name

Republic of Uganda (Uganda). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Eastern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. [3] The last execution reportedly took place in 2005. [4]

Methods of Execution

Hanging.
Hanging is the legal method of execution for civilian trials, as provided by Section 99(1) of the Trial on Indictments Act. [5]

Shooting.
Executions are carried out by firing squad in the military justice system. [6]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Uganda Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14112297, May 21, 2013.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Sep. 20, 2011.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Abolitionist and Retentionist Countries, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/abolitionist-and-retentionist-countries, last accessed Mar. 6, 2014.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Uganda Annual Report 2007, https://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uganda/report-2007, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014. Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-4, May 6, 2014.
[5] The Trial on Indictments Act, sec. 99(1), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 23, Aug. 6, 1971, as updated through to Dec. 2000. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 35, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005. Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. viii, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[6] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 35, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.

Country Details

Language(s)

English [1]

Population

35,600,000. 35,600,000. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

There are approximately 293 individuals currently under sentence of death.

Amnesty International reports that there were 420 people on death row in June 2013. [3] Since then, at least 136 individuals were resentenced in November and December 2013. [4] Only nine of the 136 individuals had their death sentences confirmed. [5]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2014 to date (last updated on December 12, 2014)

0. [6]

Executions in 2013

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [10]

Executions in 2009

0. [11]

Executions in 2008

0. [12]

Executions in 2007

0. [13]

Year of Last Known Execution

2005.

The last known execution under military law took place in 2005. [14] The last known execution in the civilian justice system was in 1999. [15]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Uganda Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14112297, May 21, 2013.
[2] BBC, Country Profiles: Uganda Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14112297, May 21, 2013.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 48, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[4] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014.
[5] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014.
[6] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2013, Mar. 26, 2014.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 10, 2013.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and executions in 2009, pp. 22-23, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 10, 2010.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, pp. 18-20, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Uganda Annual Report 2007, https://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uganda/report-2007, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014. Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-4, May 6, 2014.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Mandatory Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional in Uganda, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-news/mandatory-death-penalties-ruled-unconstitutional-uganda-20090122, Jan. 22, 2009. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 79, 4th ed. 2008.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder.
Murder, defined as causing the death of a person with “malice aforethought” by an unlawful act or omission, is punishable by death. [1]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Robbery resulting in death [2] and smuggling resulting in death [3] are punishable by death. The Penal Code does not indicate any requirement of an intention to kill.

Members of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Act can be sentenced to death for cowardice in action when it results in death. [4]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Conviction for a terrorist act is punishable by death “if the offense directly results in the death of any person.” [5] Terrorism is defined as committing any of the following acts with the intent of “influencing the Government or intimidating the public…for a political, religious, social or economic aim, indiscriminately without due regard for the safety of others or property”: manufacturing or discharging an explosive; murdering, kidnapping or attacking a person, a group of persons, a diplomat or internationally-protected person, or threatening to do so; providing or collecting funds to be used for terrorist activities; hostage-taking; hijacking an aircraft or other means of transport; disrupting an electronic system; developing a biological weapon; unlawfully importing or manufacturing firearms or explosives; and unlawfully possessing materials used to make explosives. [6]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Conviction for a terrorist act is punishable by death, whether or not death results. Terrorism is defined as committing any of the following acts with the intent of “influencing the Government or intimidating the public…for a political, religious, social or economic aim, indiscriminately without due regard for the safety of others or property”: manufacturing or discharging an explosive intending to cause serious bodily injury or economic loss; murdering, kidnapping or attacking a person, a group of persons, a diplomat or internationally-protected person, or threatening to do so; providing or collecting funds to be used for terrorist activities; hostage-taking; hijacking an aircraft or other means of transport; disrupting an electronic system; developing a biological weapon; unlawfully importing or manufacturing firearms or explosives; and unlawfully possessing materials used to make explosives. [7] A death sentence may also be pronounced for knowingly aiding, abetting or providing support to another person who commits terrorist acts; [8] or establishing, running or supporting an organization that promotes or supports terrorism or publicizes and disseminates news or materials that promote terrorism. [9]

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
Rape is punishable by death. [10] Detention with sexual intent, where a person, such as a police officer or prison official, with legal custody of a detainee participates in or facilitates unlawful sexual intercourse with the detainee, is punishable by death. [11]

A 2007 amendment to the Penal Code also created a death-eligible offense for unlawful sexual intercourse with minors. Defilement, or “unlawfully having sexual intercourse with a another person under the age of 14 years,” is punishable by the death penalty. [12] Given the wording of the provision, it is possible that this is a statutory rape provision. The amendment also provides that sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18 years of old is punishable by death under the following circumstances: if the offender is infected with HIV, if the offender is a parent or guardian of the victim, if the victim has a disability, or if the offender is a serial offender. [13]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
Robbery is punishable by death when the offender uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or causes “grievous harm” to any person. [14]

Kidnapping Not Resulting in Death.
Kidnapping or detaining with the intent to murder or knowledge that murder is probable or in order to obtain a ransom is punishable by death. [15]

Economic Crimes Not Resulting in Death.
Smuggling is punishable by death where the offender is armed with, uses, or threatens to use a deadly weapon, or where the crime results in grievous harm to any person. [16]

Treason.
The following crimes of treason and offenses against the state are punishable by death: [17]

- Waging war against the state [18] or assisting another person in doing so. [19]
- Causing or attempting to cause death or harm to the President [20] or assisting another person in doing so. [21]
- Planning or declaring a plan to overthrow the government [22] or assisting another person in doing so. [23]
- Forcing the Government to change its measures or intimidating Parliament. [24]
- Inciting another person to invade Uganda with an armed force (or expressing an intention to do so); [25] committing a treacherous or mutinous act; [26] or making or attempting a mutinous assembly [27]
- Attempting to incite a member of the armed, police, or security forces to commit an offense. [28]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
According to the 1992 Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Act, the following crimes, if committed by UPDF members, are punishable by death: treachery, desertion, defection, mutiny, insubordination or disobedience, breach of duty, breach of security, endangerment of lives or equipment, command offenses, spreading harmful propaganda where there is failure of operation or loss of life, treason, murder, and rape. [29]

Comments.
While it is clear that crimes such as murder—which previously carried the mandatory death penalty [30] — can still result in death sentences in Uganda’s discretionary sentencing regime, [31] we have yet to determine whether as a practical or legal matter non-violent or non-lethal crimes will still be punishable by death now that sentencing is discretionary.

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. On June 10, 2005, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional. [32] The Supreme Court of Uganda upheld the decision of the Constitutional Court. [33] This case, known as Susan Kigula and 416 others v. The Attorney General, was a class action lawsuit on behalf of death row prisoners. [34]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

None; there is no mandatory death penalty in Uganda. [35]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No executions have been recorded since January 2008. The last execution reportedly took place in 2005. [36]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Minors who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime cannot be executed according to Section 105 of the Trial on Indictments Act. [37]

Pregnant Women.
If a woman was pregnant at the time of the crime, her sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment instead of death under Section 103 of the Trial on Indictments Act. [38]

Mentally Ill.
If the accused was mentally ill at the time of the crime, the accused cannot be held criminally responsible. [39] A person is considered insane if “at the time of the crime he or she is incapable of understanding what he or she is doing on account of any disease affecting his or her mind.” [40] We found no legal provision prohibiting the execution of prisoners who are mentally ill at the time their death sentence is to be carried out.

Mentally Retarded.
If an individual accused of committing murder or felony murder was mentally retarded at the time of the crime, the accused will be found guilty of murder with diminished responsibility. An individual is considered mentally retarded “if the court is satisfied that the individual was suffering from abnormality of the mind, arising from a condition of arrested development of the mind, any inherent causes, or induced by disease or injury, such that it substantially impaired his or her mental responsibility for his or her crime.” [41] In this case, the accused cannot be sentenced to death but must be taken into safe custody. [42]

References

[1] Uganda Penal Code Act, secs. 188, 189, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005. Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 14, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[2] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 286(2), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[3] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 319(2), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[4] Uganda People Defence Forces Act, sec. 120, Feb. 9, 2005. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, pp. 17-18, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005. Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, pp. 32-33, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[5] The Anti-Terrorism Act of the Republic of Uganda, part III, sec. 7(1)(a), 2002. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 18, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[6] The Anti-Terrorism Act of the Republic of Uganda, part III, secs. 7(2)(a)-(j), 2002.
[7] The Anti-Terrorism Act of the Republic of Uganda, part III, secs. 7(2)(a)-(j), 2002.
[8] The Anti-Terrorism Act of the Republic of Uganda, part III, sec. 8, 2002.
[9] The Anti-Terrorism Act of the Republic of Uganda, part III, sec. 9, 2002.
[10] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 124, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[11] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 134(5), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[12] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 129(4)(a), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[13] Uganda Penal Code Act, secs. 129(4)(b)- 129(4)(e), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[14] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 286(2), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[15] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 243, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[16] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 319(2), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[17] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 17, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[18] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(1)(a), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[19] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(1)(d), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[20] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(1)(b), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[21] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(1)(d), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[22] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(1)(c), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[23] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(1)(d), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[24] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(2)(a), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[25] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(2)(b), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[26] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(3)(a), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[27] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(3)(b), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[28] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 23(4), Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[29] Uganda People Defences Forces Act, sec. 120 - 122, 127 -130, Feb. 9, 2005. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, pp. 17-18, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005. Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, pp. 32-33, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[30] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005. Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009.
[31] Caleb Balikaho, Uganda: Mother, Son to be Hanged for Murder, AllAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201006211158.html, Jun. 20, 2010.
[32] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 79, 4th ed. 2008.
[33] Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009, Amnesty Intl., Mandatory Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional in Uganda, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-news/mandatory-death-penalties-ruled-unconstitutional-uganda-20090122, Jan. 22, 2009.
[34] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 181, 4th ed. 2008.
[35] Amnesty Intl., Mandatory Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional in Uganda, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/good-news/mandatory-death-penalties-ruled-unconstitutional-uganda-20090122, Jan. 22, 2009.
[36] Amnesty Intl., Uganda Annual Report 2007, https://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uganda/report-2007, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014. Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-4, May 6, 2014.
[37] The Trial on Indictments Act, sec. 105, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 23, Aug. 6, 1971, as updated through to Dec. 2000. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, pp. 20-21, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[38] The Trial on Indictments Act, sec. 103, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 23, Aug. 6, 1971, as updated through to Dec. 2000. Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 21, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[39] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 11, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[40] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 11, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[41] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 194, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.
[42] Uganda Penal Code Act, sec. 194, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 120, Jun. 15, 1950, as amended by Law No. 8 of 2007, Jul. 20, 2007.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Jun 21, 1995 [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

Yes. [4]

Date of Accession

Nov 14, 1995 [5]

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

No. [9] No. [10]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [11]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

No. [12]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [13]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Yes. [14]

Date of Accession

May 10, 1986. [15]

Signed?

Yes. [16]

Date of Signature

Aug. 18, 1986. [17]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Yes. [18]

Date of Accession

Jul. 22, 2010. [19]

Signed?

Yes. [20]

Date of Signature

Dec. 18, 2003. [21]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Yes. [22]

Date of Accession

Aug. 17, 1994. [23]

Signed?

Yes. [24]

Date of Signature

Feb. 26, 1992. [25]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [26]

Vote

Against. [27]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [28]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [29]

Vote

Against. [30]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [31]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [32]

Vote

Against. [33]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [34]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [35]

Vote

Against. [36]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [37]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4?=en, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[9] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[10] Uganda is not an American state.
[11] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[12] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[13] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed May 5, 2010.
[14] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[15] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[16] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[17] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights, Doc. 0002, http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/African_Charter_on_Human_and_Peoples_Rights.pdf, Aug. 2, 2011.
[18] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[19] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[20] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[21] African Union, List of countries which have signed, ratified/acceded to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Doc. 0025, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/999Rights_of_Women.pdf, Feb. 14, 2011.
[22] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[23] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[24] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[25] African Union, Signatories, Accessions, and Ratifications, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Doc. 0003, http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/96Welfare_of_the_Child.pdf, Jan. 27, 2011.
[26] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[27] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[28] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[29] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[30] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[31] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[32] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: Human Rights Questions, Including Alternative Approaches for Improving the Effective Enjoyment of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[33] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[34] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[35] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[36] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[37] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

The Ugandan Constitution provides that the right to life “may be taken away if a person is found guilty and sentenced to death in a fair trial by a competent court and the highest appellate court has confirmed the sentence.” [1]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

The Constitution provides for the establishment of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, an independent body tasked with monitoring the Ugandan government’s compliance with international human rights treaties and conventions. [2]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

Uganda has not carried out any executions since 2005, [3] but until recently civilian and military courts continued to impose the death penalty for capital offences. There has been a marked drop in the number of death sentences issued each year (5 death sentences in 2011 [4] and 2010 [5] and 1 confirmed in 2009, [6] compared to 114 death sentences in 2008 [7] and at least 10 in 2007 [8] ), and no death sentences at all were handed down in 2012 [9] or 2013. [10]

Moreover, the application of the death penalty in Uganda has been significantly narrowed since the 2005 case of Susan Kigula and 416 others v. The Attorney General. [11] In this case, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional because it prevents a judge from taking into account all mitigating circumstances in a sentencing decision. [12] The Supreme Court of Uganda upheld the decision of the Constitutional Court. [13] As a result, the Court vacated the sentences of defendants who had been sentenced to the mandatory death sentence and were now awaiting appeal and sent their cases to the High Court for resentencing.

The Court also ruled that based on conditions endured by inmates awaiting execution, long delays in carrying out executions amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which is prohibited by articles 24 and 44(a) of Uganda’s Constitution. The Court specifically held that a delay of more than three years after a prisoner’s sentence has been confirmed by the highest appellate court constitutes “unreasonable delay” and is unconstitutional. The Court ordered that prisoners who had remained on death row for three years after their final judicial appeal without being executed would have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, prisoners who had spent 20 years on death row or in prison after having their sentences commuted due to delay in execution would be released. [14]

As a consequence of Kigula, many death row inmates have been resentenced. In November 2013, 156 inmates were scheduled to appear for resentencing hearings. [15] According to our information, at least 136 of the ‘Kigula beneficiaries’ were resentenced by the High Court at the November - December 2013 resentencing session. [16] Of the 136, eleven individuals were released, nine were given death sentences, one was given a Minister’s Order due to minority status, four were referred to a psychiatric facility, twenty-two were given life sentences, and ninety-two were given terms of imprisonment. [17] Prior to that, approximately 60 individuals had been resentenced on an ad-hoc basis. [18] As of May 2014, 196 individuals are therefore known to have been resentenced, and 192 individuals are believed to be waiting to be resentenced, including members of the military. [19]

In November 2011, the death sentences of Susan Kigula and Patience Nansamba were reduced to 20 and 16 years of imprisonment respectively. Their case exemplifies the types of mitigating factors taken into account at resentencing. Justice Musoke Kibuuka stated that he did not reinstate death sentences because the defendants were first time offenders with no previous criminal record and they were remorseful and apologetic to the court and the victim’s families. Additionally, the judge took into account the defendants’ age, stating that because they were relatively young at the time of the murder, they had the potential to reform. [20] Justice Musoke Kibuuka also reduced the sentences of other death row inmates, substituting sentences of 15 and 20 years’ imprisonment. [21]

In 2013, the Constitution’s Sentencing Guidelines for Courts of Judicature (Practice) Directions set out mitigating factors for all judges to consider during resentencing hearings. [22] When hearing resentencing cases in 2013, courts considered information relating to the offender’s background, circumstances, and character as presented by social inquiry reports. [23] To illustrate, in 2013, Justice Mugamba reduced the sentence of an inmate to 26 years’ imprisonment after taking into consideration that he was remorseful and appeared rehabilitated. [24] As of May 2014, at least 10 judges are hearing resentencing cases simultaneously. [25]

In 2009, a Bill was presented to Parliament which would have mandated the death penalty for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. The Bill was ultimately passed into law in 2013, but the capital punishment provision was eliminated. [26]

Uganda began a program to handle a backlog of capital cases in the High Court in 2010. [27] Case backlogs in the judicial system routinely contribute to lengthy pretrial detentions. The Justice Law and Order Sector launched a program of targeted and intensified capital trials. [28] A High Court judge hears a cause list, consisting of thirty-five cases and fifty to sixty defendants. The judge has forty days to hear the cases and issue decisions. [29] Observers have expressed concern about the protection of fair trial principles in such an expedited system. [30]

In 2003, the Constitutional Review Commission published a report. It advised abolishing the death penalty for politically related crimes, among other recommendations. [31]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No. While Uganda has not carried out any executions since 2005, [32] it rejected all recommendations to abolish the death penalty at its last Universal Periodic Review before the U.N. Human Rights Council [33] and has signed all four Notes Verbales denouncing the U.N. General Assembly’s Resolution to impose a global moratorium on the use of capital punishment. [34]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

The application of the death penalty in Uganda has been significantly narrowed since the 2005 case of Susan Kigula and 416 others v. The Attorney General. [35] In this case, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional because it prevents a judge from taking into account all mitigating circumstances in a sentencing decision. [36] The Supreme Court of Uganda upheld the decision of the Constitutional Court. [37] As a result, the Court ruled that defendants who had been sentenced to the mandatory death sentence and were now awaiting appeal would have their cases sent to the High Court for resentencing. The Court also ruled that based on conditions endured by inmates awaiting execution, long delays in carrying out executions amounted to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which is prohibited by articles 24 and 44(a) of Uganda’s Constitution. The Court specifically held that a delay of more than three years after a prisoner’s sentence has been confirmed by the highest appellate court constitutes “unreasonable delay” and is unconstitutional. The Court ordered that prisoners who had remained on death row for three years after their final judicial appeal without being executed would have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, prisoners who had spent 20 years on death row or in prison after having their sentences commuted due to delay in execution would be released. [38]

In another recent case, Uganda Law Society v. Attorney General, the Constitutional Court determined that under Article 22 of the Ugandan Constitution a soldier’s right to life requires that the soldier have an appeal as of right to the Supreme Court and the possibility of clemency from the President. [39] Previously, there had been disagreement over whether the UPDF Act would permit individuals tried by a Field Court Martial to appeal their sentence to a civilian court. [40] This judgment should have the effect of granting soldiers tried by a Field Court Martial the right to appeal.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

Judicial decisions are available online at the Uganda Legal Information Institute’s website, located at http://www.ulii.org. This website catalogues judicial decisions from the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court.

In addition, some judicial decisions are published in law report series such as East Africa Law Reports, Kampala Law Reports, the High Court Bulletin published by the Law Development Centre in Uganda, and Uganda Law Reports. Within Uganda, judicial decisions might also be found in hard copy at law libraries such as the High Court Library in Kampala, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Reference Library, Makerere University Law Library, the Legal Informatics Centre at Makerere University’s Faculty of Law, and the Law Development Centre Library. [41] A private legal publishing company called LawAfrica provides paid access to superior court decisions. [42] The Uganda Online Law Library also provides paid access to Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court judgments. [43]

What is the clemency process?

Under the Ugandan Constitution, following a death sentence all relevant information from the record is submitted to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy. [44] The Committee is made up of the Attorney General and six Ugandan citizens (excluding members of Parliament, the District Council, or the Uganda Law Society) appointed by the President. [45] The Committee reviews the defendant’s case and makes a recommendation to the President as to whether the death sentence should be upheld. The President makes the final decision. An execution can only be carried out if the President signs the death warrant. [46] The President can choose to sign the death warrant, grant the defendant a conditional or unconditional pardon, grant a fixed or unspecified period of reprieve, or commute the sentence to a milder form of punishment. [47] For instance, in 2000, President Museveni commuted the death sentences of 16 prisoners to life imprisonment. [48] However, between 2007 and 2013, only two appeals for executive clemency were successful. [49]

For crimes committed by members of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), the President is advised by the Military High Command rather than the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy. [50] In addition, the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy cannot consider cases decided by a Field Martial Court in the military justice system; those sentenced through this method do not have the right to clemency under the law. [51]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. [52] However, Uganda now uses lay citizens in capital cases, which has diminished the number of death sentences. [53] As assessors, lay citizens offer their opinions at the end of the trial. Their opinions are not legally binding. [54]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Those convicted of capital crimes can appeal their High Court verdict to the Court of Appeal. [55] The time spent on appeal prior to the Court of Appeal hearing can range from a few months to two years for individuals appealing the High Court decision. [56] If the Court of Appeal upholds the High Court’s decision, the defendant can appeal to the Supreme Court. [57] The Supreme Court’s verdict is final. However, in practice, appeals rarely result in a reversal of the High Court decision. There is little opportunity for the accused to present new evidence in order to prove his or her innocence. [58]

According to the UPDF Act, individuals in the military system who are tried and sentenced by the general court martial have the right to appeal to the court-martial appeal court (composed of a High Court judge and senior military officers). [59] Additionally, defendants under a sentence of death cannot appeal the severity of their sentence in the Supreme Court [60] or Court of Appeal. [61] Instead, they can only appeal the conviction as a whole. [62] Under “exigent” circumstances, a Field Court Martial can be set up at the crime scene to try individuals. [63] However, while the UPDF act does not explicitly give the accused the right to appeal a sentence handed down by a Field Court Martial, [64] a 2002 Constitutional Court decision deemed an execution of two UPDF soldiers sentenced by a Field Court Martial to be unconstitutional because they were denied the right to appeal. [65] Currently, only senior UPDF leadership can hear appeals from Field Court Martials. [66]

References

[1] The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, art. 22, abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[2] The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, arts. 122, 123, abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Uganda Annual Report 2007, https://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uganda/report-2007, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014. Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-4, May 6, 2014.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 53, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 42, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 27, 2011.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 10, 2010.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 24, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 7, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 49, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 10, 2013
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 51, ACT 50/001/2013, Mar. 26, 2014.
[11] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005. Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009.
[12] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005.
[13] Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009.
[14] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[15] Tumwesigye Everest, affiliated with Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, letter to justices conducting resentencing hearings, Re: Pre-Sentence and Social Inquiry Reports for Kigula Mitigation Session November 18th-22nd 2013, Nov 17th, 2013.
[16] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014.
[17] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014. Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-4, May 6, 2014.
[18] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014.
[19] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014.
[20] Hillary Nsambu, Uganda: Kigula’s Death Sentence Reduced to Imprisonment, allAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201111130098.html, Nov. 12, 2011.
[21] Anthony Wesaka, Uganda: Three Convicts on Death Row Survive Hangman, allAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201110200872.html, Oct. 20, 2011.
[22] Tumwesigye Everest, affiliated with Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, letter to justices conducting resentencing hearings, Re: Pre-Sentence and Social Inquiry Reports for Kigula Mitigation Session November 18th-22nd 2013, Nov. 17, 2013.
[23] Tumwesigye Everest, affiliated with Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development, letter to justices conducting resentencing hearings, Re: Pre-Sentence and Social Inquiry Reports for Kigula Mitigation Session November 18th-22nd 2013, Nov. 17, 2013.
[24] Uganda v. Tury Amushanga Kyoma John, Session Case No: HCT-00-CR.SC 0245-2013, High Court of Uganda, Dec. 9, 2013.
[25] Pippa Woodrow, affiliated with Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. 2, Jan. 1 2014.
[26] Faith Karimi, Ugandan parliament passes anti-gay bill that includes life in prison, CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/21/world/africa/uganda-anti-gay-bill/, Dec. 23, 2013.
[27] Justice Law & Order Sector, Case Backlog Reduction Program, http://www.jlos.go.ug/index.php/2012-09-25-11-09-41/case-backlog-reduction, last accessed Mar. 17, 2014.
[28] Justice Law & Order Sector, Case Backlog Reduction Program, http://www.jlos.go.ug/index.php/2012-09-25-11-09-41/case-backlog-reduction, last accessed Mar. 17, 2014.
[29] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[30] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[31] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 12, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[32] Amnesty Intl., Uganda Annual Report 2007, https://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uganda/report-2007, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014. .
[33] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the UPR: Uganda, sec. 11.37, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/16, Dec. 22, 2011. U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Recommendation and Pledges, http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/recommendations_to_uganda_2012.pdf, Mar. 16, 2012.
[34] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013. U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011. U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009. U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008.
[35] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005. Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009.
[36] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005.
[37] Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009.
[38] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[39] Hillary Nsambu, Court outlaws army executions, The New Vision, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/670792, Feb. 8, 2009. Uganda Law Society v. Attorney General, sec. 5, Constitutional Petitions Nos. 2 of 2002 & 8 of 2002, Constitutional Court of Uganda, 2009.
[40] Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Act, part 4, secs. 84-87, 1992. Uganda Law Society v. Attorney General, sec. 5, Constitutional Petitions Nos. 2 of 2002 & 8 of 2002, Constitutional Court of Uganda, 2009.
[41] Brenda Mahoro, Uganda’s Legal System and Legal Sector, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/uganda1.htm, Mar. 2013.
[42] LawAfrica, Background, http://www.lawafrica.com/page.php?id=14, last accessed Mar. 5, 2014.
[43] Uganda Online Law Library, http://www.ugandalawlibrary.com/ull/default.asp, last accessed Mar. 6, 2014.
[44] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 27, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, art. 121(1), abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[45] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 28, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[46] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 222, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[47] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 31, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[48] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 261, 4th ed. 2008.
[49] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 37, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[50] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 33, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[51] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, pp. 27-28, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, arts. 121(1), 121(4), abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[52] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 37, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[53] Maiko Tayusari, Uganda Death Penalty Roundtable, INT2 by Sandra Babcock, Uganda Doc. 2, Feb. 26, 2010.
[54] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 37, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[55] Uganda Criminal Procedure Code Act, sec. 45, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 116, Jun. 15, 1950, as updated through to Dec. 2000. Uganda Judicature Act, sec. 10, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 13, May 17, 1996, as updated through to Dec. 2000.
[56] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 27, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[57] Judicature Act of the Republic of Uganda, secs. 4, 5, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 13, May 17, 1996, as updated through to Dec. 2000.
[58] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 27, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[59] Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Act, part 4, secs. 84, 65, 1992.
[60] Judicature Act of the Republic of Uganda, sec. 5, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 13, May 17, 1996, as updated through to Dec. 2000.
[61] Uganda Criminal Procedure Code Act, sec. 45, Consolidated Laws of Uganda 2000 Ch. 116, Jun. 15, 1950, as updated through to Dec. 2000.
[62] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 30, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[63] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204390.pdf, Apr. 19, 2013.
[64] Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Act, part 4, secs. 84-87,1992.
[65] Hillary Nsambu, Court outlaws army executions, The New Vision, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/670792, Feb. 8, 2009.
[66] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204390.pdf, Apr. 19, 2013.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

The Ugandan Commissioner General of Prisons has indicated that death-sentenced prisoners are held in Luzira Prison in Kampala, Uganda’s maximum security prison. [1] In addition, some prisoners on death row may be held at Kirinya Prison in Jinja. [2]

Description of Prison Conditions

Prisoners on death row in Luzira are housed next to the gallows in a facility built in the 1920s. The facility is overcrowded and inadequately staffed. [3] Death row prisoners are held in maximum security wings, separate from the general population of the prison. [4]

Overall, prison conditions in Uganda are harsh and sometimes life-threatening. Reports indicate that conditions border on inhuman, with degrading treatment and torture. [5] Because of poor prison conditions, many death row prisoners allegedly perish while imprisoned. [6] Reports indicate that in 2009 there were 141 prisoner deaths nationwide due to factors such as mistreatment, overcrowding, poor sanitation, malnutrition, inadequate medical care and disease. [7]

In general, prisons are woefully overcrowded. For example, Luzira prison currently houses over 2,500 prisoners despite having a capacity for only 600. [8] In total, Ugandan prisons house upwards of 30,000 prisoners but are only designed to accommodate 14,334 inmates. [9] The large number of pre-trial detainees contributes to the overcrowding in prisons. For instance, between 2006 and 2008, individuals awaiting trial made up more than half - approximately 60% - of the prison population.

The African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) registered 17 allegations of torture against prison officials and other reports have documented cases of extrajudicial killings. [10] In 2010, there were numerous reports of torture and abuse in detention facilities operated by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMA), CMI’s Joint Antiterrorism Taskforce (JATT), and the Rapid Response Unit (RRU).

Access to medical services is inadequate in prisons across Uganda. [11] Medications are scarce and unsterilized needles are often used on death row inmates, which can lead to the transmission of diseases, including HIV/AIDS. When death row inmates fall sick, the prison’s medical team is hesitant to treat them because they are to be executed ultimately anyway. [12] Inmates who are not on death row are given priority in medication. In 2005, it was reported that unsterilized needles were sometimes used on death row prisoners, leading to the transmission of HIV/AIDS. We have no way of verifying if this information is current. The same report indicated that many inmates with HIV/AIDS were not receiving antiretroviral treatment, and that inmates had died of malaria due to insufficient treatment. [13]

Abusive forced labor continues to be a problem in many Ugandan prisons. [14] Inadequate nutrition and poor sanitary conditions are also problematic. [15] Solitary confinement and the withholding of food are used as punishment for prisoners. [16]

In Luzira’s women’s prison reports tell of dismal conditions – overcrowded cells, no windows, poor food quality, and unsanitary conditions. [17]

Due to lack of space in juvenile facilities, minors were held in prisons with adults, [18] despite the 2006 enactment of the Prison Act, which recognizes the rights of inmates and the rights of children to be detained separately from adults. [19]

Observers reported poor conditions and numerous cases of abuse in illegal detention facilities, although information on conditions in illegal detention facilities is generally hard to obtain. [20]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

At least five foreigners may be under sentence of death. [21] These figures are based on reports from 2010 and 2011. It is possible that they are no longer accurate, since we do not know how many foreigners may have been resentenced following Kigula.

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

A Chinese national, an Indian national, and three Pakistani nationals may be under sentence of death. [22] These figures are based on reports from 2010 and 2011. It is possible that they are no longer accurate, since we do not know how many foreigners may have been resentenced following Kigula.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

In 2011, there were at least four women are on death row. [23] It is possible that this number is no longer accurate, since we do not know how many women may have been resentenced following Kigula.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

Older reports indicate that in 2008, at least 17 prisoners on death row in Luzira Prison were under the age of 18 at the time of their crime [24] after having been sentenced under mandatory death sentencing laws (despite the prohibition on sentencing juveniles to death under Ugandan law). [25] During the November-December 2013 resentencing session following the Kigula decision, at least one juvenile was given a Minister’s Order, which means that he is waiting for the minister to determine how he should be treated. [26] There are reportedly at least 5 more juveniles who were erroneously tried as adults and whose death sentences were vacated by Kigula. They are awaiting resentencing. [27]

In practice, Minister’s Orders lack clear procedures and do not lead to expeditious resolutions, leaving prisoners in the general sections of prisons for an indefinite period. [28]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

No information was available regarding the racial/ethnic composition of inmates on death row at the time of reporting.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

According to the law, any defendant facing capital charges has the right to a lawyer at the state’s expense. [29] However in practice, the government does not have sufficient funds to provide satisfactory legal counsel to indigent defendants accused of capital offenses, [30] leading to a poor quality of legal representation and arbitrary sentencing. [31] State-appointed lawyers in capital cases do not thoroughly investigate cases or provide all the possible evidence in court, sometimes leading to wrongful convictions. [32] Budget limitations mean that lawyers representing capital defendants are paid poorly, which leads to appointing inexperienced or ineffective lawyers. [33]

In the military justice system, although the accused has the right to a lawyer, some of the military defense attorneys are not trained, leading to poor quality legal representation. [34]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

While there does not seem to be a legal provision providing for the right to a state-appointed lawyer for indigent prisoners on appeal, in practice it seems that lawyers are sometimes available. In cases where defendants have been provided a state-appointed attorney, the same lawyer generally does not defend the client in the appeal hearings. Usually a new defense lawyer who is unfamiliar with the facts of the case is appointed on appeal. This problematic process probably contributes to the low reversal rate on appeal. [35]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to the law, defendants facing capital charges have the right to a lawyer at the state’s expense. [36] However, in practice, the government does not have sufficient funds to provide satisfactory legal counsel, [37] leading to a poor quality of legal representation and arbitrary sentencing. [38] State-appointed lawyers assigned to capital cases do not thoroughly investigate cases or present all relevant evidence in court, sometimes leading to wrongful convictions. [39]

Free legal representation is provided by organizations such as the Public Defender’s Association, the Legal Aid Clinic of the Law Development Centre, and the Legal Aid Project of the Uganda Law Society. However, about 75% of capital defendants are represented by “state briefs,” who are private lawyers required to provide pro-bono representation. Unfortunately, many of the state briefs do not provide high quality representation. In most cases, the defendants are not interviewed by their briefs prior to trial and meet them for the first time at trial. State briefs only spend a few minutes discussing the case with their client. [40] During the trial, briefs usually only provide information from the case file; however, this information is often inaccurate or incomplete. [41] State briefs rarely cross-examine witnesses and request copies of the evidence. Furthermore, co-defendants are often represented by the same attorney, which can create a conflict of interest. [42]

In Susan Kigula and 416 others v. The Attorney General, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional because it prevented a judge from taking all mitigating circumstances into account before imposing a sentence. [43] In the wake of this decision, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives (FHRI), with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth office of the United Kingdom, recently launched a project expected to provide free legal assistance to inmates on death row. According to Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of FHRI, the project seeks to aid vulnerable people with poor backgrounds to have their death sentences reduced to life. The project also seeks to lobby for law reforms, conduct public education for various stakeholders, and disseminate sentencing guidelines. [44]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

The Ugandan criminal justice system is overwhelmed, lacking sufficient numbers of judges and lawyers to administer justice and protect defendants’ rights. Police conduct incomplete investigations, and the government has not fully addressed the limitation of resources. [45] Backlogs in trials have led to long pretrial detention of three to seven years. [46] For instance, in June 2011 the UPDF released three soldiers – Emmy Namanya, Moses Keriri, and Yason Babishanga – who were arrested between 2002 and 2004 on suspicion of murder but never formally charged. [47] Thus, the time spent on remand is generally very long, and there is no system of plea bargaining. [48] Delays in investigations and repeatedly denying police bonds or court bails also contribute to prolonged pre-trial detention. [49] The Prisons Service reported that more than half of its approximately 31,749 inmates were pretrial detainees. The Uganda Human Rights Commission heard several cases brought by prisoners challenging the length of their detention. [50] Suspects are sometimes taken into custody without a warrant, and many are held for more than 48 hours without being charged, which is against the law. [51]

The judicial system is generally corrupt and inefficient. [52] In addition, there are concerns about the fairness of Field Court Martial trials. Field Court trials are conducted through the military justice system in situations where the defendant cannot be tried in the regular military courts. These trials are conducted in complete secrecy; there are no mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with fair trial standards. [53]

Despite a 2006 court ruling prohibiting the military from trying civilians in military tribunals, this practice continued. [54] In July 2011 Human Rights Watch issued a report documenting the prosecution of civilians in military courts and reported that at least 1,000 civilians had been court-martialed since 2000. In September 2011 the UPDF announced that it would end the practice of trying civilians in military tribunals. [55]

References

[1] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[2] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 40, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[3] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[4] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 40, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[5] Human Rights Watch, Even Dead Bodies Must Work – Health, Hard Labor, and Abuse in Ugandan Prisons, p.1, ISBN: 1-56432-788-4, Jul. 2011.
[6] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 135, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135982.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[8] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 40, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[9] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 40, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[10] U.S. Depart. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[11] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 40, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[12] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 30, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[13] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 31, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[14] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 41, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013. Human Rights Watch, Even Dead Bodies Must Work – Health, Hard Labor, and Abuse in Ugandan Prisons, p.1, ISBN: 1-56432-788-4, Jul. 2011.
[15] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, pp. 32, 33, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[16] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 35, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[17] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, pp. 32,33 International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[18] Human Rights Watch, Even Dead Bodies Must Work – Health, Hard Labor, and Abuse in Ugandan Prisons, p. 4, ISBN: 1-56432-788-4, Jul. 2011.
[19] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the UPR: Uganda, paras. 73, 39, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/16 , Dec. 22, 2011.
[20] U.S. Depart. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[21] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, FHRI and PRI joint statement submitted to the UN secretary general on Moratorium on the use of death penalty in East Africa, available at lhttp://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FHRI-and-PRI-submission-to-the-UN-Sec-Gen-report-on-the-status-of-the-death-penalty-in-East-Africa-Kenya-and-Uganda-April2012.pdf, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[22] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, FHRI and PRI joint statement submitted to the UN secretary general on Moratorium on the use of death penalty in East Africa, available at lhttp://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FHRI-and-PRI-submission-to-the-UN-Sec-Gen-report-on-the-status-of-the-death-penalty-in-East-Africa-Kenya-and-Uganda-April2012.pdf, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[23] Amnesty Intl., Uganda Annual Report 2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/uganda/report-2012, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[24] Josephine Maseruka, 17 children on death row, allAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/200909160941.html, Sep. 15, 2009.
[25] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 134, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[26] Tanya Murshed, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-2, Apr. 22, 2014.
[27] Pippa Woodrow, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-3, Apr. 23, 2014
[28] Pippa Woodrow, affiliated with the Center for Capital Punishment Studies, Email to DPW, DPW Uganda Doc. E-3, Apr. 23, 2014
[29] The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, art. 28(3)(d), abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[30] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 35, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[31] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. viii, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[32] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 26, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[33] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[34] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135982.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[35] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 27, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[36] The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, art. 28(3)(d), abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[37] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[38] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. viii, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[39] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 26, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[40] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[41] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 29, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[42] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[43] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, Constitutional Appeal No.03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009, available at http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=499aa02c2, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[44] Ephraim Kasozi and Betty Ndagire, Uganda: Death Sentence – Inmates to Get Free Legal Services, allAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201110150118.html, Oct. 15, 2011.
[45] Dr. Johnson O.R. Byabashaija, Commissioner General of Prisons, Interview by DPW, Uganda Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[46] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[47] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[48] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 28, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[49] Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, FHRI and PRI joint statement submitted to the UN secretary general on Moratorium on the use of death penalty in East Africa, available at lhttp://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FHRI-and-PRI-submission-to-the-UN-Sec-Gen-report-on-the-status-of-the-death-penalty-in-East-Africa-Kenya-and-Uganda-April2012.pdf, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[50] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[51] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[52] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[53] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 35, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[54] Penal Reform International, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, p. 37, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, May 2013.
[55] Human Rights Watch, Righting Military Injustice: Addressing Uganda’s Unlawful Prosecutions of Civilians in Military Courts, ISBN: 1-56432-796-5, p. 1, July 2011.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its 2004 concluding observations, the last it has issued for Uganda, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) expressed its concern about the broad range of offenses that are punishable by the death penalty in Uganda. Some of these concerns have since been addressed by the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court.

The HRC noted that the mandatory death penalty for murder, aggravated robbery, treason and terrorism resulting in death is incompatible with the ICCPR. [1] (This remark no longer applies since in 2005 the Supreme Court struck down the mandatory death penalty as unconstitutional in Susan Kigula and 416 others v. The Attorney General. [2] ) The HRC also found that the lack of a right to appeal or seek clemency in cases where individuals had been sentenced to death by a Field Court Martial is also incompatible with the ICCPR. [3] (This observation may also be moot. In 2002, the Constitutional Court found that the execution of two UPDF soldiers sentenced by a Field Court Martial was unconstitutional because they were denied the right to appeal. [4] While this Constitutional Court decision should provide soldiers tried by a Field Court Martial with a right to appeal, it is unclear whether the application of the law has changed in Uganda as a result of this ruling.) Furthermore, the HRC was concerned about the long period of time spent by many inmates on death row. [5] (The Supreme Court ruled in Kigula that a delay in execution of more than three years after a prisoner’s sentence is confirmed by the highest appellate court amounts to unconstitutional cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. [6] Prisoners who remain on death row for three years after their final judicial appeal without being executed now have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. [7] ) Finally, the HRC urged Uganda to reduce the number of offenses that are death-eligible and limit the application of the death penalty to only “the most serious crimes.” [8]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Uganda’s death penalty laws were scrutinized by the Human Right’s Council 2011 Periodic Review of Uganda. [9] Several countries recommended that Uganda commute all death sentences to life in prison or abolish the death penalty. [10] While Uganda rejected most of these recommendations, it did accept Belgium’s recommendation to convert all death sentences to life terms after more than three years are spent on death row. Indeed, this recommendation is consistent with national case law following the Kigula judgment. [11]

In 2005, the Committee Against Torture noted that the torture of prisoners remains a problem in Uganda. [12] The Committee added that Uganda had neither incorporated the UN Convention Against Torture into domestic legislation, nor introduced similar provisions into its law. The Committee was also concerned about allegations of widespread torture and mistreatment by state security forces and agencies, and the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators. [13] These observations and concerns indicated that pre-trial conditions for capital defendants may undermine prisoners’ rights to a fair trial and humane treatment and amount to cruel or inhuman punishment.

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, Uganda, para. 13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/UGA, May 4, 2004.
[2] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, pp. 29-30, Constitutional Petition No. 6 of 2003, Constitutional Court of Uganda at Kampala, Jun. 10, 2005. Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 45, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009.
[3] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, Uganda, para. 13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/UGA, May 4, 2004.
[4] Hillary Nsambu, Court outlaws army executions, The New Vision, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/670792, Feb. 8, 2009.
[5] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, Uganda, para. 13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/UGA, May 4, 2004.
[6] Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 55, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 181, 4th ed. 2008.
[7] Attorney General v. Susan Kigula & 417 Others, p. 57, Constitutional Appeal No. 03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Susan Kigula and 416 others v. AG: Constitutional appeal finally heard at Uganda’s Supreme Court, http://www.beta.afronet.biz/~fhri/suzan.html, last accessed Mar. 6, 2014
[8] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 40 of the Covenant, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee, Uganda, para. 13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/80/UGA, May 4, 2004.
[9] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the UPR: Uganda, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/16, Dec. 22, 2011.
[10] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the UPR: Uganda, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/16, Dec. 22, 2011.
[11] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the UPR: Uganda, sec. 11.37, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/16, Dec. 22, 2011. U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Recommendation and Pledges, http://www.upr-info.org/IMG/pdf/recommendations_to_uganda_2012.pdf, Mar. 16, 2012.
[12] U.N., Committee Against Torture, Conv. Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Uganda, Conclusions and Recommendations, para. 11, CAT/C/CR/34/UGA, Jun. 21, 2005..
[13] U.N., Committee Against Torture, Conv. Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Uganda, Conclusions and Recommendations, paras. 5, 6, CAT/C/CR/34/UGA, Jun. 21, 2005.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana
Executive Director
Human Rights House, Plot 1853, Lulume Road, Nsambya
PO Box 10027
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 41 51 02 63, +256 41 51 04 98, +256 41 51 02 76 Fax: +256 41 51 04 98
fhri@dmail.ug
www.fhri.or.ug

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)
Mrs. Doreen Lubowa
Human Rights House, Plot 1853, Lulume Road, Nsambya
PO Box 10027
Kampala, Uganda
doreenn2003@yahoo.co.uk

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Human Rights Network Uganda
P.O. Box 21265
Kampala, Uganda
Tel : +256-41-286923, +256-41-285362
Fax : +256-41-286881
info@hurinet.or.ug
http://hurinet.or.ug

Public Defenders Association of Uganda
P.O.Box 27352
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256 414286487, +256 772933354
Fax: +256 414540770
pdefender@yahoo.co
info@pdefender.org
http://humanrightshouse.org/Members/Uganda/index.htm

Uganda Association of Women Lawyers
Plot 11, Kanjokya Street
Kamwokya, Kampala
Tel: +256-414530848
fida@fidauganda.org
http://www.fidauganda.org

Uganda Joint Christian Council
P.O Box 30154
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-41-254219/344250
Fax: 256-41-344250/254522
http://www.ujcc.co.ug

Center for Capital Punishment Studies
Westminster Law School
University of Westminster
4 Little Titchfield Street
London
W1W 7UW
United Kingdom
hodgkip@westminster.ac.uk
Tel: 020 7911.5000 ext. 2501
http://www.westminster.ac.uk/ccps/home

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, “Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda,” Fountain Publishers, 2008.

Human Rights Watch, Righting Military Justice: Addressing Uganda’s Unlawful Prosecutions of Civilians in Military Courts, ISBN: 1-56432-796-5, Jul. 2011.

International Federation of Human Rights, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, http://www.fidh.org/IMG//pdf/ug425a.pdf, Oct. 2005.

Penal Reform Initiative and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in East Africa: Kenya and Uganda, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/East-Africa-research-report-on-death-penalty-and-life-imprisonment.pdf, Mar. 2012.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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