In Summary

Supreme Court says applications staying the ex LRA commander an amnesty certificate should be heard.

Kampala

Former LRA commander Thomas Kwoyelo will stay longer than anticipated in Luzira Prison.
This follows a ruling by the Supreme Court on Friday staying any orders of any court directing that Kwoyelo be granted amnesty certificate and be released from detention.

According to the ruling, Kwoyelo will stay in detention until the main application to stay the execution orders of the Constitution Court and High Court is heard and determined before the same court.

The orders directed the Chairman Amnesty Commission and the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue Kwoyelo with an amnesty certificate on grounds that he qualifies for one just like other former rebels who were granted amnesty certificates upon renouncing rebellion.

“Upon hearing from both sides, we find merit in this application. All consequential orders are stayed pending the hearing of the main application,” ruled Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki.

Friday’s ruling followed successful arguments by the Principal State Attorney Patricia Muteesi, who was seeking for an interim stay of the execution of the lower courts. “Once the amnesty certificate is issued to Kwoyelo as the lower courts have ordered so, it is irreversible,” argued Ms Muteesi

State’s submissions
She said issuing the certificate would cause irreparable damage to State in case there is an order to retry Kwoyelo against crimes he allegedly committed against humanity during the two-decade war.

Ms Muteesi also submitted that there is high likelihood that once Kwoyelo is given the amnesty certificate and released from detention, he will rejoin the LRA since he has been in contact with the rebel financiers.

Kwoyelo’s defence team that comprised of Julius Galisonga, Nicholas Opio and Francis Onyango unsuccessfully asked the court to dismiss the application with costs. Mr Onyango argued that the Constitutional Court order of staying Kwoyelo’s trial before the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Gulu had been implemented.

Mr Galisonga rubbished Ms Muteesi argument that Kwoyelo would rejoin the LRA. “There is maximum security at Luzira and there is no way he can get in touch with the financiers, this allegation is not true.”