The Ugandan national army, doctor The UPDF has internally launched investigations into the allegations of sexual offenses committed by its men in the Central African Republic.
UPDF started withdrawing from CAR last month after 8 years of hunting for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony who is indicted by the International Criminal Court alongside four other commanders. One commander, Dominic Ongwen is already currently before The Hague’s based court facing multiple charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity while the three other commanders are dead.
As Ugandan forces exit from CAR, human right groups have accused them for sexually preying on the vulnerable women and young girls in the country that has had and internal war for about 15 years now. The accusations include rape of girls as young as 13, sexual slavery and exploitation according to the international and local human right groups.
An American publication The New York Times quoted an internal United Nations report that implicated UPDF in sexually abusing 30 women and girls and impregnating 44 others.
When contacted on phone, the UPDF Spokesman, Brig. Richard Karemire told ChimpReports that the force is internally handling the matter and two officers are already before the Court Martial.
“We have formally received several cases and launched investigations into the conduct of some of our troops who served in CAR,” Brig. Karemire said.
“As I talk to you now, 2 soldiers are already being court martialed for breaking our deployment rules,” he added without mentioning the names or the ranks of the two officers.
According to Karemire, UPDF officers on missions abroad are regularly briefed and reminded on maintaining the strict rules of the force and the consequences of behaviors that cause disrepute.
“We frequently tell our officers deployed in anywhere to uphold the standards at all times and never spoil the good reputation we have built for years.
In June last year the Foreign Affairs ministry received a letter jointly written by the human rights bodies in CAR over the conducts of UPDF soldiers.
According to section 41 of the UPDF Act, UPDF soldiers who commit offenses in foreign countries cannot be tried by the host nations.
“The deployed troops shall not be subjected to the law of the host nation or the jurisdiction of any court or tribunal deriving power under that law. Deployed troops who commit any offense may be repatriated for trial in Uganda,” sub closes one and two of the UPDF Act section 41 said.