Women activists are planning a legal challenge to the army appellant court’s decision to reduce the 35-year jail term of a murder convict, LCPL Herbert Rwakihembo, to three years.
Rwakihembo was found guilty on three counts in the murder of his girlfriend Irene Namuyaba and two others, Royce Kawendeke and Nnalongo Zaina Nassolo, in December 2012.
The soldier, who shot his victims, was sentenced on January 28, 2013 to 35 years in jail by the late Col Godfrey Kakama of the division court martial.
On appeal, the General Court Martial at Makindye reduced the lower court’s sentence to 15 years last May. On his second appeal to the Court Martial Appeal Court chaired by Elly Turyamubona, Rwakihembo’s sentence was slashed further to only three years last February. He was set free because court considered the time he had spent in jail.
The programme director at Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP), Brenda Kugonza, said the Court Martial Appeal court’s action is an obstruction of justice for women and their families.
“The appellant court’s actions, if not challenged, hold a likelihood of setting a wrong precedent in perpetrating violence against women and their families,” Kugonza said.
The executive director of Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIVAids (UGANET), Dorah Kiconco, described Turyamubona’s verdict as a wrong precedent to the community, which could lead to “an upsurge in violence against women.”
Source : The Observer