16 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 117 (2005-2006)
From Arrest to Release: The Inside Story of Uganda's Penal System

handle is hein.journals/iicl16 and id is 121 raw text is: FROM ARREST TO RELEASE: THE INSIDE STORY
OF UGANDA'S PENAL SYSTEM
Brooke J. Oppenheimer*
Prior to becoming an independent state in 1962, Uganda's justice system
was a model for its neighbors; at that time, the police force was strong,
respected, and appreciated by the public; judicial hearings were fair and well-
regarded; and the military did not abuse its power.' Unfortunately, after many
decades of political upheaval, this same system has become an example of a
corrupt and inefficient justice system.2 Although improvements have been
made since President Museveni came into power, unrealistic laws, corruption,
and public fear of the justice system have prevented any notable progress. This
paper will address the recurring problems in Uganda's criminal justice system
and provide recommendations on how to address the barriers encumbering the
system.
This paper will start by addressing the concerns with criminal
investigations, arrests, and police detentions followed by an analysis of pre and
post-trial detentions. It will consider the corruption within the penal stages, the
legal ambiguities, and the logistical inefficiencies of the system.
I.   ARREST, INVESTIGATION, AND POLICE CUSTODY
A.    The Composition of the Police Force
Article 211 of the Constitution of Uganda provides for a Ugandan Police
Force.3 When Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM)
government took control over the police, the police force consisted of 10,000
officers, but was quickly reduced to 3,000 officers after Museveni removed his
opposition.4 After sifting for good officers, the police force was quickly
*Ms. Oppenheimer would like to thank Professor Elizabeth Spahn from New
England School of law for her continuous support of her research and advocacy for children in
Africa. She also notes that this research would not have been possible without the assistance of
her research partners, Alice Nassaka and Sophie Kyagulanyi, and the support of Foundation for
Human   Rights  Initiative.  Ms.  Oppenheimer  is  presently  the  Executive
Director of Advocates for the African Child, a nonprofit organization which provides legal
services to children in conflict with the law. Ms. Oppenheimer also interned for the President of
the Defence Counsel for the ICTY while completing her legal studies at the New England
School of Law.
1. UGANDA JUDICIAL COMM'N OF INQUIRY, REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF
INQUIRY INTO CORRUPTION IN THE UGANDA POLICE FORCE: MAIN REPORT, 10 (1999-2000)
[hereinafter REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION].
2. Id.
3. UGANDACONST. ch. 12,  211.
4. REPORT OF TE JUDICIAL COMMISSION, supra note 1, at 12.

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