Katumba: Soldiers who kill civilians deserve death penalty

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces has rejected a proposal to amend its Act to remove the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment.

The Law Revision (Penalties in Criminal Matters) Miscellaneous Amendment Bill, a private initiative of MPs Alice Alaso and Fox Odoi, seeks to amend sections of the UPDF Act to remove references of the death penalty as maximum sentence and convert them to life imprisonment.

There are 17 offenses in the UPDF Act that attract the death penalty.
They include cowardice in action, failure to protect war materials, offenses relating to prisoners of war, treachery, disobeying lawful orders and desertion.

The Chief of Defense forces (CDF) Gen. Katumba Wamala has defended the stay of the death penalty.
The CDF says he is in support of the death penalty especially in the army because the penalty is a preventive measure against irresponsible behaviour by the army.

“I do not support the Death penalty but if a soldier deliberately kills innocent civilians he should likewise suffer death.”

Civil society on the other hand believes the penalty is too harsh and should be abolished.
In 2009, the Supreme Court ruled and declared unconstitutional the mandatory application of the death penalty.
Attorney General Fred Ruhindi says the death penalty should be retained for the most serious crimes.
Such crimes include; terrorism, murder, aggravated defilement among others.

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