Opinion: It was criminal for Tanzania to extradite Mukulu


Tanzania has set a criminally bad precedent in the region, extradition treaties are consensus generated in international law.

Tanzania did not have any obligation to surrender ADF leader, Jamil Mukulu, a suspected dissident and a refugee to Uganda, because one principle of sovereignty is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders.

Its criminally irresponsible and a breach of international statutes and trusts to extradite a political dissident to a country with crimes that are political nature.

Possibility of certain forms of punishment on this alleged crime is a capital punishment with a conviction of the maximum sentence the death penalty.

This is a clear case of double standards by the regime in Uganda, who harboured belligerent forces of M3 rebels; Uganda still continues to give sanctuary to top leaders of M23 rebel leaders who are wanted in DRC for treasonous case and waging a campaign that has millions of Congolese.

I remember the same government of Uganda refusing plainly that they will not hand over the M23 rebel leaders because they will not get fair trials in Kinshasa.

How was Tanzania hoodwinked to extradite a political opponent of the regime in Kampala to face trial in Uganda yet his crimes are international in nature?

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not in support of crimes committed by Jamil Mukulu outfit the ADF in the jungles of DRC and western Uganda.

I condemn in the strongest terms any organisation that targets helpless and defenseless civilians.

However, my concern is mixing political trials with a criminal offenses in the case of Jamil Mukulu who is blamed for slaughtering hundreds of civilians yet and the same time waging war against the regime in Kampala.

Tanzania announced in April, police had arrested Jamil Mukulu, leader of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), after which Uganda requested he be sent to Kampala for trial.

Taking a close look at International Extradition Law:

“Extradition” refers to the process in which one state or nation gives over an individual to another state or nation for criminal trial and/or punishment.

Many nations do not extradite individuals for certain political crimes. These can include treason, sedition, espionage and alleged crimes relating to criticism of political leaders.

Many nations also refuse to extradite people who may face torture or the death penalty in the requesting nation.

These nations may extradite the person if the requesting nation provides adequate assurance that the individuals trial and/or punishment will not include torture or the death penalty.

Some nations refuse to extradite their own citizens to other countries. Most often, these nations claim jurisdiction over crimes committed abroad by their citizens and thus may prosecute such crimes themselves.

Within the meaning of the relevant treaty, the offence has to be an ‘extradition offence’.

This usually means that the offence is punishable by at least 12 months’ imprisonment. If the defendant has been convicted, at least four months’ imprisonment should have been imposed.

Admissible evidence to establish that there is a case to answer must be submitted with the request, except for certain countries.

These include all four 1949 Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of an Armed Conflict, and the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

In the Soering v. the United Kingdom judgment, the European Court of Human Rights found for the first time that the State’s responsibility could be engaged if it decided to extradite a person who risked being subjected to ill-treatment in the requesting country.

The country requesting extradition must be doing so in order to compel the individual to face justice; to sentence an individual who has already been convicted; or to carry out a sentence already imposed.

The ADF rebels launched an insurgency in Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni in the mid-1990s and later established bases on the Congolese side of the border.

Mukulu, believed to be 51, is wanted in Uganda for a range of crimes including terrorism and murder.

The international police agency Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest at Uganda’s request.

The UK had earlier on denied a similar request from Uganda, reasoning that he was one a political refugee and investigations didn’t find any links between ADF and Al Qaeda.

The UN chief in DRC also concluded in a statement “while no clear ties between the ADF and jihadist movements have been uncovered, the deputy UN peacekeeping chief in DR Congo, General Jean Baillaud, said they had a “terrorist aspect” that could draw them closer to African jihadist movements.

What guarantees are there that Jamil Mukulu will be tried fairly in Uganda? considering he is both a dissident and a fugitive.

My fear is political opponents of the regime will soon be victims of this illegal pacts within the region and Tanzania acted in disrespect of international laws.

Moses Atocon Atyekwo, the author, is a social media political analyst/activist.

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