Kampala. The king of Rwenzururu Kingdom, Charles Wesley Mumbere, now facing a string of charges including terrorism, has accused the state of playing double standards in his bail application.
The king through his lawyers including Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng, Samuel Muyizzi, said the state move to reschedule the wants the hearing of the bail application is aimed at frustrating the king liberty.
The Omumberes reaction followed rejection to the hearing of the application by the principal state attorney, Rachael Bikhole on grounds that the Jinja High Court, where the king’s scheduled bail application hearing was set to kick off, did not have jurisdiction to entertain the same.
In justifying her preliminary objection, Ms Bikhole explained that since the Omusinga (king) is among other offenses facing terrorism charges, his bail application should be heard by the International Crimes Division of the High Court that has jurisdiction to hear terrorism charges and not the ordinary high court. She added that a judge outside the International Crimes Division like Eva Luswata who set to preside over the Mumbere bail application, could only do so after being designated by the principal judge.
The International Crimes Division of the High Court is a special court that among handles offenses like trafficking in humans, crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
But Mumbere’s defense lawyers branded the state’s move as being done in ‘bad faith’ arguing that the practice guidelines of the International Crimes Division of the High Court only make it mandatory to have offenses such as terrorism to be heard before it during the trial stage but not at bail application stage as it’s the case now.
The presiding judge reserved her ruling for Thursday this week when she is expected to decide on whether her court hears out Mumbere’s bail application or she refers the same to the International Crimes Division as requested by the prosecution. Mumbere was then further remanded to Luzira prison until then.
The king together with over 150 of his royal guards, faces several charges ranging from treason, murder, terrorism, attempted murder, aggravated robbery to malicious damage to property. They were all arrested following the bombing of his Kasese palace on November 27 by a combined effort of the police and the army.