Social Media Influencing Investigations- AG
The Attorney General, Hon. Kiryowa Kiwanuka says social media plays role in misleading investigations which has seen suspects go free.
The Attorney General who appeared before the Human Rights Committee on Thursday, 17 March 2022 said that social media has become the “actual truth”.
“It is becoming very difficult to prosecute or even investigate cases. Today, every Ugandan has become an investigator and a master of knowledge. There are processes that are undertaken and if we can keep quiet and let the processes go ahead, then we shall get the true results,” he said.
He added that there could soon be trial by social media where an individual is tried and convicted by an online following without a fair hearing.
“Article 212 of the Constitution has clearly outlined who should do this job of investigation. Let them do their job and let the process go as it should. That said, Government of Uganda does not condone torture,” he added.
Kiryowa Kiwanuka added that government is working to carry out civic education.
“Government is investing a lot in educating the citizens and the security operatives of our obligations. If a person violates these obligations, he must be brought to book. How do we bring them to book? Do we have a mob justice?” he asked.
The AG noted that the compensations of the victims of the November 2021 riots is ongoing.
He said the recorded 56 deaths were regrettable, and added that 1088 suspects have been arrested, 286 cases registered at police stations with 198 of these taken to court.
The Attorney General said that 66 of the 198 have been convicted, 50 cases have been dismissed by court, 80 are still under inquiry while eight cases have been closed by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“Government remains committed to ensuring that every life that was lost in these unfortunate events is investigated and accounted for. A number of claims have been presented and we have embarked on the process of compensation,” he said.
Buhweju County MP, Hon. Francis Mwijukye was concerned that government has been reluctant to bring culprits to book, much as it does not condone torture.
“Why is it difficult to identify the so called ‘wrong elements’ within security who are torturing Ugandans? The President is lamenting about these wrong elements but it is difficult to get to know them,” he said.
Sironko district Woman MP Hon. Florence Nambozo Wamala, raised concern about the re-arrests of citizens outside courts of law, even after they have been released on bail.
In response, Kiryowa Kiwanuka said that any citizen under the law can be arrested as many times as the offences they commit.
“The grant of bail does not immunize a person from arrest. However, they cannot be re-arrested for the offence which they have been granted bail,” he said.