The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Justice Jane Frances Abodo, has warned all security agencies to stop extracting evidence from suspects through torture.
In a circular dated June 10, 2020, the government chief prosecutor says she has received numerous complaints of suspects being tortures, a move she says should stop.
“Following recent complaints and acrimony by various stakeholders of the DPP regarding torture of suspects, the office has found it important to state its position on torture and other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment of suspects,” the DPP states.
Adding: “Therefore, it’s resolved that the office of the DPP condemns the use of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment as interrogation strategies and calls upon all security agencies including Uganda Police Force, Internal Security Organization (ISO) and External Security Organization (ESO) to explicitly ban the use of such treatment and enforce all laws and regulations prohibiting it’s use.”
Further in her statement, the DPP promises to investigate any form of torture allegations that is brought to its attention.
Justice Abodo has also promised to prosecute suspected perpetrators of torture and other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment in line with Article 24, in the constitution of Uganda.
“Torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment are a violation of the law. They are ineffective as a means of extracting reliable information. Moreover, these forms of treatment, negatively impact the physical and mental health of suspects as they have far reaching consequences for Uganda because they damage its reputation and undermine its credibility when it pursues international human rights,” the DPP says.
Additionally, she cites Article 44 (a) that states that there shall be no degradation from enjoyment of the right to freedom from torture.
The stern warning by the DPP, comes at the time when courts of law have lately, been passing judgments/ rulings, in which several security officers have been found guilty of torture and fined individually.
Globally, the DPP’s warning comes at a time when there are wide spread protests in the United States and across the world over the brutal torture and killing of a black man, George Floyd by a white cop after he knelt on his neck for close to nine minutes.