25 September 2013

Uganda: Museveni Blasts ICC at UN General Assembly

Kampala — Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has castigated the International Criminal Court (ICC) calling it "arrogant" and "shallow".

Museveni who was on Tuesday addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York accused the ICC of not understanding what he termed as complex African issues.

"... the ICC in a shallow, biased way has continued to mishandle complex African issues. This is not acceptable. The ICC should stop", said Museveni.

The Ugandan leader accused the international court of arrogance over its handling of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

"The latest manifestation of arrogance is from the ICC in relation to the elected leaders of Kenya", he said.

Uhuru and Ruto are accused of crimes against humanity by the ICC in relation to their role in the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya.

Museveni said the ICC should listen to African leaders.

"Many African countries supported the setting up of ICC because we abhor impunity. Our advice to them is from very capable actors who know what they are doing and saying. Kenya is recovering. Let her recover. We know the origin of the past mistakes. The ICC way is not the right one to handle those mistakes."

Uganda was the first country in African to refer a matter to the International Criminal Court. In December 2003, it referred the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels to the ICC. The LRA has fought the Uganda government for the last 20 years and is accused of heinous crimes especially in northern Uganda where they were active. In 2005 the ICC indicted LRA's top leadership including its leader, Joseph Kony.

Museveni has however lately turned into a fierce critic of the ICC. At the swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta in April, Museveni accused the court of "blackmail".

In a response to Museveni's criticism then, the ICC's Outreach officer in East African Maria Kamara told Ugandan media that the court is "completely apolitical" and a "judicial institution" with high "standards of proceedings".

Since the beginning of the hearing of the case against Kenyan vice-president William Ruto and the impending trial of President Kenyatta in November, the ICC has come under heavy criticism from African leaders and even the African Union (AU).

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