Teso War Victims Have Right to be Heard – Justice Ibanda

There was excitement and jubilations at Soroti high court on Monday after Justice Elizabeth Ibanda Nahamya rejected the preliminary state objection to the case of Teso war and cattle rustling victims.

Last month, the Attorney General through Patricia Mutesi, the principal state Attorney filed an application before Soroti high court seeking to block the hearing of the case in which Teso war and cattle rustling victims are seeking compensation from government.

In her application, Mutesi cited the delay by the victims to seek justice, Political questions revolving around their case, the incompetence of the court to determine the standard protection by the military and failure by claimants to seek declaration forms from the registrar amongst other concerns.

However, in her ruling on Monday Justice Elizabeth Ibanda Nahamya dismissed the state application. She said considering the case of the Teso war and cattle rustling victims a political question, would be would be a misdemeanor.

She concurred with Richard Omongole; the counsel for the claimants says that blocking the case on political considerations would be discriminatory in nature because the plaintiffs have a right to be heard.

Justice Elizabeth Ibanda Nahamya also defended the right of the lead petitioners to sue government saying it is legitimate for one individual to sue on behalf of others as long as they share common interests.  The petitioners are Paphras Imodot, John Oluka, Julius Ocen and Elijah Okupa, the Kasilo county Member of parliament.

Patricia Mutesi, the principal state Attorney has vowed to appeal the ruling. She however, welcomes a proposal for the out of court settlement.

Omongole welcomed the court saying it was systematic. He said the appeal by the state would also be quashed by the Supreme Court.

Ibanda adjourned the case to June 23, 2013.

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