President Museveni signs Human sacrifice law
Practising and abetting human sacrifice is criminal and punishable by death according to the Prevention and Prohibition of Human Sacrifice Bill, 2021, which has been signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni.
The long-awaited Act was sponsored by a private member, Bernard Atiku, the former Ayivu County MP and passed by the 10th Parliament chaired by Speaker emeritus, Rebecca Kadaga on Tuesday, 4th May 2021.
Whereas Uganda’s Penal Code Act criminalizes murder and by extension, any form of human sacrifice, proponents of the new law argued that, particular pieces of legislation emphasizing the criminality of such Acts and providing punitive penalties such as death if found guilty would go a long way in serving justice for victims and deterring such practices.
The proponents of the law also pointed out during the debate of the Bill that whereas human sacrifice was provided for in the current legal framework, it didn’t extensively cover aspects that fuel the practice such as financing and encouraging of use of human body parts in any ritual acts.
In the new law, human sacrifice and financing of the practice are criminal and punishable by death while an attempt to commit or finance the offence and spreading the belief in human sacrifice for financial reward or any form of gain will attract life imprisonment at the conviction in courts of law.
Additionally, the offences of professing to practice human sacrifice, encouraging or advising any person to use human body parts in any form of ritual, encouraging or advising a person to sacrifice a human being and possession of human body parts and instruments of human sacrifice are all punishable by imprisonment for life if found guilty.
Additionally, the offence of professing to practice human sacrifice is punishable by imprisonment for life, encouraging or advising any person to use human body parts in any ritual is punishable by imprisonment for life, encouraging or advising a person to sacrifice a Human Being is punishable by imprisonment for life and possession of human body parts and instruments of human sacrifice is punishable by imprisonment for life.
Receiving a copy of the Act from the Acting Clerk to Parliament, Henry Waiswa on Monday 26th July 2021, Mr Atiku who also chaired the forum for children affairs during his time in Parliament, expressed optimism that the new law would see those involved in the act of human sacrifice face death or long-time sentences to act as a deterrent against the practice.
The Act presents an opportunity for the country to bring an end to the vice of human sacrifice especially among children that police reports say are the most vulnerable victims.
This, however, is possible if there is political will and commitment to ensure that enforcing agencies and the courts of law whose mandate is to serve justice and fairness swing into action.