Uganda: Museveni Directs Attorney General On Witness Protection Law

President Museveni has directed the Attorney General to work on a witness protection law as sought for by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“I didn’t know this(witness protection law) was a problem and now if it is a problem the Attorney General should work on the law,” Museveni said.

The president made the directive on Friday while speaking to prosecutors during the 6th annual Joan Kagezi memorial lecture at Speke Resort Hotel in Munyonyo held under the theme, “Organised crime and the necessity for witness protection.”

The development followed a request by the DPP for a witness protection law that would help in protection of witnesses during the prosecution of cases.

Abodo said in any crime that goes to court, the presence of a witness to testify against a suspect draws equal interest from both the prosecution and the defence.

“The interest of prosecution in obtaining a conviction mostly hinges on witnesses and other forms of evidence whereas on the other side, the suspect is either interested in keeping witnesses from testifying or impeaching the creditworthiness of their testimony through various conventional and unconventional means,”Abodo said.

She mentioned unconventional means to include harm, intimidation and other acts.

The DPP explained that given the growing and sophisticated nature of crime in not only Uganda but world over, there need to have witnesses protected keeps growing every day and noted this can only be done ably through a law.

“For a long time, serious and organized crimes such as corruption, money laundering, terrorism, murder, kidnaps, sexual offences and trafficking in persons have been a threat and huge cost to Uganda and a legal framework will go a long way to provide special protection to threatened or intimidated witnesses as a guarantee for their security and welfare when testifying in court in the interest of a fair hearing,”Abodo said.