Retiring judges in sheikhs trial to get one-year extension

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The Judicial Service Commission (JSC), is set to sit and consider granting a one-year extension to two judges of the International Crimes Division, who retired last month in order to allow them complete the pending cases they had been handling at the time of their exit.

The judges to be considered for a one-year extension on contract are Justice Ezekiel Muhanguzi and Justice Elizabeth Nahamya.
Justice Muhanguzi has been the lead judge in the ongoing trial of Muslim sheikhs and others, including leader of the Tabliq Sect Sheikh Yunus Kamoga and others who are charged with the murder of various rival Muslim leaders about two years ago.

Speaking to Daily Monitor by telephone last Friday, the Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Dr Rose Nassali Lukwago, confirmed the Commission was in the process of sitting to consider extension of the judges’ tenure for a year.

“We have received a request to give a contract extension to the retired justices but this decision is not made by one person. The full Commission is to sit at the end of the month and look into this request…” Dr Nassali said.

According to information from the Judiciary’s Human Resource office, Justice Muhanguzi retired on February 12 upon turning 65, the mandatory retirement age for High Court judges.
The law gives a retiring judge a three-month extension to complete any pending work at their desk.

However, three months, according to observers, would not be enough for the judges to conclude the Muslim sheikhs trial and delivery of the judgement.

In an earlier interview with this newspaper, Principal Judge Yorokamu Bamwine who is the administrative head of the High Court and lower courts, said the judiciary would work out a remedy following the retirement of the judges handling the trial.
He added that whatever was to happen after those three-months extension should be left to them.

The Muslim clerics’ trial resumes on April 4 when court will rule whether the suspects have a case to answer so that they are put on their defence and undergo the full trial or have no case and they are discharged.
They are still on remand in Luzira prison.

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