The International Crimes Division of the High court in Kampala has summoned the Rwenzururu Kingdom leader Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere and more than a hundred people he is jointly charged with to appear in Court for trial.
The group which is expected to appear for a pre-trial hearing before Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khauka faces 41 charges including murder, terrorism, treason, malicious damage to property, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery allegedly committed in 2016 following the raid at the Rwenzururu Kingdom’s palace.
But on Thursday State Attorneys Lillian Omar and Marion Ben Bella told Court that apart from the former Prime Minister Thembo Kitsumbire and the king, the rest of the accused persons have not been attending Court.
Omar told Court that there are three categories of people in this case namely; those on remand at Jinja prison, those granted bail and were told to report to the High Court circuits near them, as well as Mumbere and the former Premier who was given bail but ordered to report to the International Crimes Division in Kampala.
In response, the defence lawyer Alfred Makasi informed Court that the accused persons who were granted bail have been attending in various jurisdictions. He said that the Court order was that they report to the court every last Friday of the month.
In her ruling, Judge Komuhangi issued hearing notices summoning those out on bail to appear in their respective courts where they have been reporting and appear via a video link connecting them to her court in Kampala. In the same way, the Lady Justice has issued a production warrant requiring Uganda Prisons Services to produce those still in jail at Jinja prison on October 18, 2022.
The Court has further directed the Prime Minister of Rwenzururu Kingdom Joseph Kule Muranga Kighoma to coordinate with those out on bail and ensure that they attend as required. Muranga promised to do the coordination and wants the case heard expeditiously, saying it has taken long.
Meanwhile, the defence lawyers have also been directed to share with the Prosecutors documents of sureties they intend to use to seek bail for the suspects who are still on remand to enable the hearing of their application in the next session.
The key suspect in this case Mumbere was arrested on November 27, 2016, together with 203 royal guards before being granted bail in 2017. But the Kingdom lawyers say 11 of these accused persons have since passed on while in prison while others were released leaving now 84 people on remand.
The group together with Mumbere ran out of luck when the Uganda People’s Defense Forces led operations in the Rwenzori region which resulted in the attack of the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu Palace.
It is alleged that the UPDF landed at the palace as it was searching for suspected rebels that have been terrorizing residents in the region. In 2018, the group was committed to the International Crimes Division of High Court in Kololo by Jinja High Court to face charges against them and King Mumbere although granted bail, his movements have been restricted within Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono Districts to date.
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