The deadline given to Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to explain why it failed to arrest Sudan leader Omar al-Bashir, has passed.
The court based in Hague, Netherlands had requested Uganda to arrest Bashir once he stepped in the country to attend Museveni’s swearing in ceremony on May 12.
His presence in Uganda saw European, Canadian and US diplomats walk out of Museveni’s ceremony.
In a notice dated May 17, ICC demands an explanation from Museveni’s government as to why they failed to arrest Bashir.
“…the chamber requests the competent authorities of the Republic of Uganda to submit, by 24 June 2016, their observations with respect to their failure to arrest and surrender Omar Al-Bashir while present on the territory of the Republic of Uganda.”
The notice signed by Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and Judge Chang-ho Chung, ordered the registrar to transit the decision to the authorities in Uganda.
The deadline has since passed and the international court is mute.
The Sudan president is accused of orchestrating crimes against humanity during the Darfur crisis.
Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since a 1989 Islamist and army-backed coup, has been accused by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) of masterminding genocide and other atrocities in his campaign to crush a revolt in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
This is what Museveni told Germany media house Spiegel on the matter:
SPIEGEL: The International Criminal Court in The Hague aims to end impunity for the criminals in these wars. In 2008 you supported the arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity. A few days ago, he was in Kampala at your inauguration ceremony, where you warmly received him. You didn’t show any interest in arresting him. How come the change of heart?
Museveni: I was one of the first to sign the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). I was against impunity when it comes to human rights violations. But many of us African leaders now want to leave the Rome Statute as soon as possible because of this Western arrogance.
SPIEGEL: African opposition to the ICC has been building up since Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was to have been indicted. You seem to feel closer to Kenyatta than to your Sudanese counterpart. But a crime is a crime and the law is the law. Doesn’t this apply to both friends and foes?
Museveni: When we asked the United Nations to suspend the trial for a year, which the statutes allow, so that Kenyan elections could be carried out, it was simply rejected. The preparation for the indictment proceeded. Now I’ve changed my mind, even against Omar al-Bashir. Whether he has to be charged or not, the Sudanese shall decide or the Africans. The ICC has lost all credibility. This is our continent, not yours. Who are you to ignore the voice of the Africans?
SPIEGEL: President Uhuru Kenyatta is accused of purposely inflaming tribal conflicts during the 2008 election campaign, which led to more than 1,100 deaths. Should this go unpunished?
Museveni: The problems of tribal conflicts in Kenya are much older, caused by the former colonial power. A former American ambassador there once wrote about how the CIA has contributed to the divisions between Kenyans. You reap what you sow.
SPIEGEL: But if the 34 African countries withdraw from the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court will have failed.
Museveni: So what? Judge yourselves, not us.