House arrest involves confinement of a person to his/her home or another specified location instead of incarceration in a jail or prison. House arrest may take on various forms such as curfew restrictions, home confinement/home incarceration, surrender of one's passport; among others.
Despite the fact that house arrests are not provided for under the law, Police in Uganda usually rely on Section 24 of the Police Act which empowers them to carry out “preventive arrest and detention” of anyone whose unrestrictive movement may be deemed as a threat to public order.
The rules of a normal arrest require production of a suspect in court within 48 hours and his/her charges read to him/her. Contrary to this, many house arrests have taken place with the victims being held beyond 48 hours and without any clear charges.
The important question to ask therefore is; "What are the rules governing house arrests?" I think there should be among others; a threshold to determine how long one is a threat to the public, a definition of what amounts to reasonable grounds to warrant house arrest. Without this, the resort to house arrest as a measure shall remain arbitrarily applied.
In my opinion therefore, the concept of house arrest is "detention disguised under a different name" and hence should have clear rules as it is opposed to the due detention process and leaves the victim in a vacuum, being neither a prisoner nor a free person; which in itself is a bar to one's exercise of human rights.