The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda provides for the office of the Human Rights Commission as earlier discussed. In a bid to avoid excessive use and abuse of power, the Constitution expressly states the powers of this Commission as follows;
To begin with, the Commission in carrying out its duties shall operate like a Court and therefore have the powers of a Court to carry out the following activities.
- To issue summons or any orders requiring the attendance of any person before the Commission or to produce any document or record for purposes of investigations.
- To question any person about any subject matter under investigation before the Commission.
- To require any person to disclose information he or she possesses that may be relevant to the investigation.
- To commit persons for contempt or failure to follow its orders.
In addition to this, the Commission further has powers, upon satisfaction that there has been an infringement to make the following orders;
- Release a detained or restricted person
- Payment of compensation
- Any other legal remedy or redress.
This also follows the right to appeal which is a constitutional right and because the Commission operates like a court, this means orders coming from it may be appealed in case of dissatisfaction.
In expressly providing powers for the Commission, the Constitution expressly bars the Commission from dealing with matters that are beyond its mandate, and as such, the Commission is not allowed to investigate the following matters;
- Any matter which is pending before a court or judicial tribunal and this is to avoid double dispensation of justice.
- A matter involving the relations or dealings between the government and the government of any foreign state or international organization or
- A matter relating to the exercise of the prerogative of mercy.
In conclusion, therefore, the powers as provided for under the Constitution are to be strictly followed by the Commission and any excessive use of powers may be questioned.