There was an interesting story in the East African Standard about the operation of justice in the country of Uganda that probably had George Bush happy. In 2004, sixteen people were arrested and charged with treason. Last November, the High Court of Uganda ordered their release, but within an hour, armed security agents surrounded the High Court and seized the sixteen men in order to prevent their release. In a move straight out of the Bush concept of justice, the men were taken before a General Court Martial and charged with unlawful possession of firearms and treason, tried and convicted. Fortunately, East Africa has an East African Court of Justice to which the men appealed. The Court ruled this week the men must be freed and paid compensation for their mistreatment. The Court was furious at the actions of the security personnel in entering court premises in order to arrest people and the concept that civilians can simultaneously be tried in civilian and military courts.
It is welcome news that East Africans have access to a court that will not be controlled by political forces in their country. It is unfortunate that the Bush Doctrine of a ‘war on terrorism” means nations should abandon law and order in order to please hysterical elements who will abrogate any right in the name of security. In the long run, this attitude of ignoring law and order is an outgrowth of Bush’s attitude.