The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) is seeking a constitutional amendment that will expand the 48-hour window within which a suspect is supposed to be produced before court.
Jane France Abodo, the Director of Public Prosecution, made her remarks at the 10th annual conference of the East Africa Association of Prosecutors (EAAP) that started on Monday, February 27th, at Munyonyo.
The conference is under the theme Transboundary Crime: Practical Approaches to Protecting Women and Children.”
According to DPP Jane France Abodo, the proposed amendments are for only complex cases like terrorism, theft of huge funds, and others that cannot be investigated within the current 48 hours.
Abodo explained that the constitution provides that a suspect should be produced in court not later than 48 hours from the time of arrest.
She added that the 48-hour window was brought into the country’s law book way back in the 1995 constitution and that 28 years later, crime has changed.
“You cannot say that within 48 hours you will be able to actually do a meaningful investigation of a terrorism case and have someone in court; otherwise, we shall not have anyone in court.” “The 48-hour rule should be there, but we are asking if the time can be enlarged in some cases, that we go to court and ask for an extension of time, that we have ABCD to handle — we are not saying all offenses, but it will be on a case-by-case basis and not generally,” said Abodo.
She stated that they intend to enhance coordination, cooperation, and communication to combat human trafficking and wildlife trafficking and also to enhance coordination, cooperation, and communication in criminal matters among the pattern states, among others.
EAAP is an organization of national prosecution authorities that was established in 2010, with the founding members being the national prosecution authorities of the East Africa Community (EAC).
During the 8th annual conference, it was agreed to expand the association to include the neighboring countries that are EAAP members.
EAAP is comprised of 11 national prosecuting authorities from the following countries: Burundi, the DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.