Plea taking on 20 counts will resume on January 27 2021. The progress in the case is slow due to translation of proceedings in four languages for each and all the accused persons, one after the other.
Mukulu and his co accused appearing in Court.
The suspected supreme commander of the Allied Democratic Forces Jamilu Mukulu has refused to take plea on charges of terrorism. This was before a panel of three Judges of the International Crimes Division of the High Court which has formally started hearing Mukulu's case and 37 others inside Luzira Maximum Security prison.
The accused persons face a string of charges related to terrorism, murder, aggravated robbery, attempted murder and being a member of a terrorist group.
They appeared before a panel comprised of Justice Michael Elubu, Lydia Mugambe and Susan Okalany.
However the Justices read the charge of terrorism to all the accused persons and they denied it. But when they reached Mukulu who is number 19 on the list of the accused persons, he declined to take plea arguing that he only wanted to take plea on those offenses under which he was extradited for from Tanzania.
Mukulu was extradited from Tanzania specifically to answer to seven counts of murder. But after reaching in Uganda, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions instituted charges of terrorism and belonging to a terrorist group following the murder of a number of Muslim clerics.
"I cannot plead to the charge that was not included in the extradition documents", said Mukulu.
After Mukulu saying this, the Judges put it in their record that he had pleaded not guilty and moved on with the rest of the accused persons.
Another accused person called Musa Muku Dunchu Nabangi Alias Vando complained of torture before taking plea. Nabangi accused one for the investigating officers called Francis Olugu saying that he (Olugu) had told him to confess to the offense of terrorism or else he was going to shoot him.
Court heard that Nabangi had seen inside the court in Luzira one of the investigating officers who tortured them badly and that Olugu had reportedly removed one of his two testicles.
Olugu also allegedly threatened to shoot the accused while they made noise at him calling him a chief torturer during lunch break.
Another accused person raised concerns such as failure to get proper medication, having been released previously but kept in prison. He also complained of intimidation among others, which the judges asked their lawyers to follow up.
The accused were being represented by a number of lawyers including Anthony Wameli, Geoffrey Turyamusiima among others. The State was represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Lino Anguzu.
Plea taking on 20 counts will resume on January 27 2021. The progress in the case is slow due to translation of proceedings in four languages to all the accused persons one after the other.
Issues of poor quality audios and images characterized the first day of the trial as the public and relatives who were following from the Judiciary headquarters couldn't clearly understand what was going on.
According to the prosecution, between 2011 and 2014, the 37 accused persons under the command of Mukulu acquired firearms and training in neighboring countries and funding for economic, social, political and religious reasons.
Mukulu and his group are also accused of murdering Muslim clerics Sheikh Yunus Abubaker Mandanga, and the top Shia Cleric Dakitoor Muwaya who was gunned down under his leadership before his group reportedly attacked Bugiri police station and killed four police officers. The officers are Karim Tenywa, Julius Owori, John Stephen Owori, Muzamir Babale and LC3 Chairperson Tito Okware.
The accused were arrested from various places in Uganda and Tanzania between 2014 and 2015 on charges dating back to 1998 when suspected ADF rebels attacked Kichwamba Technical Institute and killed more than 80 students.
The other accused persons are; Abdallah Sharif Ali Salim alias Mukyotala, Musa Nabangi, Adam Diin Bashiri alias Wabula, Sheikh Ahamed Rashid Wasiga, Cpl. Alex Martin Engwau, Sgt. John Owori, Sheikh Ibrahim Badru Wanjala, Amis Adam, Abdul Malik Kabaale, Muzahamu Ndifuna and Ibrahim Kyessa. Others are Yakubu Kyessa, Muhammad Muruya, Abdallah Waniala, Abduswabul Kimbugwe, Muhammad Mbuya, Muhammad Kiryagana, Abdurahamani Muyaga, Muhammad Matovu, Omar Abdallah Mutuka, Amis Sowedi, Zaidi Kambo, Musa Kaala, Mansuudi Kisambira, Isa Kayira, Hassan Wasswa, Abdallah Kirwani, Daniel Wanyama, Abdul Ddungu, Robert Wandera, and Umayiya Kikomeko.