MPs to debate bill limiting private prosecution rights

MPs to debate bill limiting private prosecution rights

The Ugandan Parliament is set to debate a new bill that could significantly alter the country’s legal system. Lawmakers will discuss a proposed piece of legislation aimed at removing powers of private prosecution from ordinary citizens.

Currently, under Ugandan law, any individual has the right to privately prosecute another person if they believe a criminal offense has been committed against them.

However, supporters of the new bill argue this system has potential for abuse. Proponents say allowing private prosecutions could see malicious or frivolous cases clogging up an already overburdened court system. There are also concerns some may use private prosecutions to settle personal scores or grievances.

Backers believe concentration of prosecution powers in the hands of the state authorities would help address these issues. If passed, the bill would strip ordinary Ugandans of the ability to directly file criminal charges against other individuals. Instead, any alleged criminal matters would have to be referred to state prosecutors for review and a decision on whether to formally charge a suspect.

Meanwhile  critics argue this significantly curtails citizen participation in the justice system. They say private prosecutions empower victims and help address situations where state authorities are unwilling or slow to act. Opponents believe the bill undermines democratic governance and removes an important check on state power.

The upcoming debate in Parliament is likely to be robust as legislators vigorously debate the rights and wrongs of private prosecution powers. The final outcome remains uncertain as supporters and opponents make their case in what could be a landmark reform of Uganda’s legal framework.