National Implementation of IHL
Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012
An Act to give effect, in accordance with articles 24 and 44(a) of the Constitution, to the respect of human dignity and protection from inhuman treatment by prohibiting and preventing any form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; to provide for the crime of torture; to give effect to the obligations of Uganda as a State party to the United Nation's Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and other related matters.

Acts Supplement No.1 to The Uganda Gazette No. 52 Volume CV dated 18th September, 2012. (last accessed on 28.03.2013)

The definition of torture included in the Act is drafted on the basis of the Convention against Torture (CAT). The Act however widens the definition of torture to ‘omission’, as well as to the acts committed by private individuals. In line with CAT, the Act excludes exceptional circumstances, such as existence of an armed conflict, to serve as a defence to a charge of torture. The Act equally excludes defence of superior orders, prevents punishment of persons who disobey orders to undertake actions amounting to torture and enacts responsibility of superior officers over acts of torture committed by their subordinates. The Act criminalises not only infliction of torture, but also aiding or abetting, procuring, financing, soliciting, inciting, recommending, encouraging or rendering support to a person, while knowing or having reason to believe that the support will be used for commission of torture. Moreover, the Act creates a separate offence for those who act as accessories ‘after the fact to the offence of torture’. An accessory is a person who ‘receives or assists another who is, to his or her knowledge, guilty of an offence under this Act, in order to enable him to escape punishment,’ but explicitly excludes a wife and a husband of a person guilty of torture. The Act further prevents admissibility of evidence obtained by means of torture, prohibits the use of information obtained by torture and excludes granting of amnesty to a person accused of committing torture. It equally includes the principle of non-refoulement and foresees protection of victims, witnesses and persons reporting torture. Apart from the jurisdiction based on the principle of territoriality and active and passive personality, the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act extends the jurisdiction of the Ugandan courts over acts of torture committed by ‘any person who is for the time being present in Uganda or in any territory under the control or jurisdiction of Uganda.’ A consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions is however required for the prosecution of non-citizens.

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