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Death Penalty Information

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Uganda: HIV and the death penalty
Museveni Supports Death Penalty

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni said on Friday that HIV carriers who
deliberately infect others should be charged with murder.
"People who infect others deliberately are killers - they are murders,"
Gen. Museveni said during the Forum on Justice and Human Rights at Speke
Resort Munyonyo, a Kampala suburb.
"I would treat harshly someone who gets involved with another knowing that
he or she has HIV. We clearly need to be tough on this (AIDS)."
The President was answering a question from Prof. Joseph Kakooza, the head
of the Uganda Law Reform Commission, who wondered how he wanted such
people treated.
Gen. Museveni had earlier on concurred with visiting former Attorney
General of the United States of America John Ashcroft on his call for the
retention of the death penalty as punishment for capital offences.
"I am a strong believer in the death penalty. I've heard that in some
places in Europe, they forgive a deliberate killer. But how do you for
instance control the Army? Soldiers are no longer killing people because
we execute whoever kills another. It will take a long time for someone to
convince me," he said.
Mr Ashcroft, who addressed the meeting attended by judges, lawyers,
policemen, prison officers and others who contribute to the Justice, Law
and Order Sector, said the death penalty is good because it saves lives.
"If you believe in self-defence when you have been attacked, I think it
makes sense to execute people who get convicted for killing others. Once
you cross that bridge, then you support capital punishment," Mr Ashcroft
The forum organised by an American-based NGO, Restore International and
Uganda's Judicial Training Institute, focused on the rising cases of human
trafficking and child prostitution.
Restore International's founder and president Bob Goff said the phenomena
has hit most countries and is now considered the world's third organised
Former Solicitor General Peter Kabatsi said human trafficking is some form
of slavery and a crime in which people are moved from poor environments to
affluent ones under the guise of finding them better opportunities.
He said the victims, 80 % of whom are normally women, end up being abused
sexually, physically and psychologically.
For child trafficking, Mr Kabatsi said immature children are made to
engage in dangerous activities that they do not fully comprehend.
Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki said the crime has gained momentum due to
various issues like poverty and insurgencies and that quick solutions
needed to be mapped out.
Joel Aliro Omara, a commissioner with the Uganda Human Rights Commission,
said there are international laws against these vices. He, however, said
their enforcement has been complicated because law enforcers often pounce
on victims and the perpetrators are left at large, something he said needs
to be changed.
Principal Judge James Ogoola said research indicated that Uganda is one of
the countries caught up in the international scam, not only as a country
of origin, but as a transit country and destination for human trafficking.
"People are taken on pretences that they are going to work then they are
turned into sex objects and slaves," he said.
President Museveni, who called for the enactment of a local law to curb
the crime, attributed Africa's taking part in such international crimes to
colonialists, saying there was nothing like abuse of human rights in the
African setting.
(source: The Monitor)
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