Where as Article 24 of the Ugandan Constitution provides that no person shall be subjected to any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – the police has continued to pay a deaf ear to this anti torture law and many related international laws.
During the Three days human rights workshop at Imperial Golf View hotel Entebbe, the United Nations Human Rights country representative Robert Kotchani noted that the police in Uganda seem not to understand the country’s constitution especially in relation to torture. Kotchani says there are still gaps to fill in the minds of the police officers who believe that torture is a tool to get evidence out of a suspect.
“There can be no instance where torture is admitted and evidence collected via torture can not be used against the victim to be convicted” stresses Kotchani.
Elly Kasirye who chairs the Wakiso district Human rights committee that organized this workshop for the police officers in Wakiso explains that the police being too close to the communities,their duty of keeping law and order should be well versed with the laws that directly deal with human rights so that they do not violate those constitutional rights and freedoms.
In many cases police has been sited using excess force on people during demonstrations and arrests,an act that goes against the reasonable force they are entitled to put to use in cases where the situation seems to be getting out of hand, However they are arguments on how to measure the magnitude of the said reasonable force in instances where a police officer’s life too is at stake.
The Assistant police commissioner in charge of human rights in Kampala metropolitan James Kusemelerwa says police is has powers to at times use what can be described as excess force especially in situations of life and death, then after the rest can be settled in courts of laws.
Kusemelerwa,however notes they have included human rights into the police training curriculum and and also arranging more trainings to equip their men in uniform with at least the human rights basics.