A military court is a judicial court of commissioned officers set up for the purpose of hearing charges brought against members of the armed forces or others within its jurisdiction.
What legislation provides for military courts in Uganda?
The existence of the military courts is established by the Uganda People’s Defence (UPDF) Act. The UPDF Code of Conduct exists for the purpose of guiding and discipling members of the Defence Forces.
The different military courts
- The Division Court Martial. Each division of the defence forces has a Division Court Martial with unlimited original jurisdiction under the UPDF Act.
- The General Court Martial. The General Court Martial has unlimited original jurisdiction under the UPDF Act and hears all appeals from decisions of the Division Courts Martial.
- The Court Martial Court of Appeal. The Court Martial Court of Appeal hears and determines all appeals referred from decisions of the General Court Martial.
- The Field Court Martial. This court only operates in circumstances where it is impractical for an offender to be tried by a Unit Disciplinary Committee or Division Court Martial
Can members of the Defence Forces be tried in civilian courts?
According to section 204 of the UPDF Act, the Act does not affect the jurisdiction of any civil court to try a person for an offence triable by that court.
Can civilians be tried in the military courts?
The Constitutional Court, in resolving the issue whether the General Court Martial had jurisdiction to try civilians, stated in the case of Uganda Law Society v Attorney General (Constitutional Petition No.18 of 2005), that the General Court Martial under the UPDF Act has no jurisdiction to try civilians.