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Opposition Leader Wants ICC to Investigate Uganda’s Leader

  • Peter Clottey

A Ugandan opposition leader said he is compiling more evidence for the chief prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) to begin investigating President Yoweri Museveni for alleged war crimes.

Olara Otunnu, head of the Uganda People’s Congress party, told VOA there is a long trail of evidence of massacres, human rights abuses and other atrocities committed in Uganda, as well as neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, that were allegedly carried out under President Museveni’s instructions.

“There is a long trail of bloodshed and massacres wherever Mr. Museveni has been. Last September, in the streets of Kampala, he ordered the shooting of unarmed demonstrators. More than 40 people were killed and hundreds were rounded up, tortured and jailed without trials. To this day, there’s been no investigation or accountability,” he said.

Shortly after meeting chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, opposition leader Otunnu told reporters he presented a dossier of evidence so that the ICC could start an investigation of President Museveni.

But, supporters of Mr. Museveni dismissed the accusations as a way to score cheap political points ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Opposition leader Otunnu said he is compiling more evidence against Mr. Museveni over his alleged war crimes.

“I handed to Mr. Moreno Ocampo some information and he asked for more information, which I will be providing to him. We have tons of tons of information on all these cases. So, information is not a problem and there is actually plenty of information in the public domain, as well in reports in various writings, including my own writing, and there are still survivors who can testify to what Mr. Museveni did,” Otunnu said.

Otunnu met the chief prosecutor on the sidelines of the ongoing ICC conference on the Rome Statute in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. He said the prosecutor requested to meet him after holding discussions with an official of his opposition Uganda People’s Congress Party.

Opposition leader Otunnu served as the former U.N. Under-Secretary General for Children Affairs. But, he is now a fierce critic of President Museveni, often describing the Ugandan leader as a war criminal.

Otunnu accused the ICC of only singling out the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) over atrocities committed during the northern Uganda conflict with the national army.

He also said the court should have prosecuted President Museveni, whom he accused of giving instructions to the national army to commit various crimes, including human rights abuses, in northern Uganda.

But, the government contends that residents in northern Uganda were forced into camps to protect them from the LRA’s insurgency.