HIGH COURT: The jailed leader of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Jamil Mukulu, has accused the government of funding the rebel group’s activities.
Mukulu made the allegations on Monday as he alighted from the Luzira prisons bus at the High Court premises in Kampala ahead of the pre-trial hearing.
“The government of Uganda sponsors ADF and if it’s a terror organization, why sponsor them with military logistics and finances every month. That is a fact. Isn’t that double standards?” she shouted as he stepped out of the bus.
However, Army spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire dismissed the allegations and accused Mukulu of trying to detract attention from his impending trial.
This comes two weeks after Mukulu also claimed that he is not a murderer and neither is he guilty of the charges against him.
“I’m not a murderer, the people who killed are in this country. This country is full of mafias,” said Mukulu at High Court’s International Crimes Division in Kampala for the first pre-trial hearing on May 14.
On Monday, Mukulu, along with 37 co-accused, had been produced in court for a pre-trial hearing. The rules of the court require a suspect to go through a pre-trial session with prosecution adducing evidence to prove whether there is a prima-facie established against him/her or not. However, it failed to take off for the second time in two weeks after the defense lawyers informed court that they have never been served with the prosecution’s evidence as per earlier court ruling.
The lawyers led by Wandera Ogalo also claimed that some of their clients were not legally committed for trial and that it wasn’t in order to continue with a pretrial when some of them don’t know the charges against them.
Principle State Attorney Thomas Jatiko however, insisted that the suspects were legally committed and their file was brought before the Principle judge from Jinja Magistrate’s Court as proof of committal.
In her ruling, Justice Eva Luswata ordered that copies of amended charge sheet should be served to all defense lawyers adding that charges will be formerly be read to the accused after the conferencing session.
The case was adjourned to June 14.
Mukulu has been in detention since he was arrested in Tanzania in April 2015 and extradited to Uganda later that year. Mukulu and 34 others are on charges of terrorism, aggravated robbery and murder among others.
The ADF is a Ugandan Muslim rebel group whose basic motives and ideology remain unclear but regional governments have alleged links to international jihadist movements.
While regional governments and the UN have blamed the ADF for a number of attacks on civilian and military targets, independent researchers say the group is often used as a cover by armed actors with an ulterior motive, including Congolese soldiers.