The Ugandan taxpayer will pick the medical bill for all wounded soldiers in South Sudan, Chimp Corps report.
February 13, 2014 [KAMPALA] — According to the status of Forces agreement signed between the two countries indicates that the visiting force will be “responsible for meeting the cost of medical, optical, and hospital treatment for members of UPDF.”
Signed on January 10 by Defence Minister, Crispus Kiyonga on behalf of Uganda, the agreement further provides that UPDF would arrange for “evacuation in the vents that suitable medical treatment is not available” in South Sudan.
This revelation implies that the defence Ministry will spend extra billions of shillings that were not allocated in this year’s budget.
And should UPDF continue military operations against Riek Machar’s rebels, the defence ministry could seek a supplementary budget to foot the costly Bill in South Sudan.
While critics accuse President Museveni of dragging Uganda in another war, government insists it saved South Sudan from witnessing a possible genocide.
Museveni maintains he protected the government of President Salva Kiir from crumbling, a situation that would have plunged the nation into chaos thus posing security challenges to Uganda and the region.
According to the agreement which Chimpreports has seen, members of a Visiting Force (UPDF) shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of Uganda’s laws and courts in respect of any disciplinary or criminal offences which may be committed by them in the territory of the Host State.
This implies that all charges of crimes committed by UPDF will be heard in Ugandan courts.
A member of the UPDF alleged to have committed the offence of murder, manslaughter or rape shall be tried at the scene of the alleged crime.
Uganda may as well waive its exclusive jurisdiction if such jurisdiction would impede the course of justice and its waiver would not be prejudicial to the interest of any of the parties.
“Each party undertakes to waive any claim it may have against the other party, or any other, servicemen or woman of the other party for injury (including injury resulting to death) suffered by its service personnel or for damage to or loss of property owned by it if such injury, death, damage or loss is caused by acts or omission of the other party or any officer, servicemen or woman whilst in its performance of its official duties,” the agreement reads in part.
Legal experts explain that UPDF will not be held liable for any damage caused during its operations in South Sudan and the Juba government will not compensate for any loss of lives on the side of Uganda troops.
“With regards to claims of third parties arising out of acts of omissions of members of a visiting force, the host state will consider the claim in a fair and just manner taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the laws and practices prevailing in its territory and will submit a report to the sending state for consideration of payment of compensation,” reads the pact.
Members of a visiting force may wear their respective service uniforms and insignia. They may possess and carry arms when authorised to do so by their competent authorities.
UPDF is exempted from income tax and any other form of direct taxation under the laws of South Sudan on their pay, allowances and other emoluments and benefits paid to them as such members.
UPDF is also allowed to import into South Sudan free of duty their personal equipment and materials as well as household effects for their personal use.