Uganda: Opposition Leader Bobi Wine Asks ICC to Investigate Rights Abuses

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Uganda's main opposition leader has asked a tribunal in The Hague to investigate his country's president for human rights abuses. At an online press conference, police accosted Bobi Wine and dragged him from his car.

Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine on Thursday called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the country's president and senior officials for alleged human rights abuses.

In comments during an online press conference from his car, Wine said his lawyer had submitted a filing to the court.

He has requested that the ICC investigate longtime President Yoweri Museveni, Security Minister Elly Tumwine and eight senior security officials. His filing cites incidents dating back to 2018, alleging that the police and military have deployed "widespread use of shoot to kill, beatings and other violence."

The ICC said it would look at the material, but a request does not automatically lead to an investigation.

"As we do with all such communications, we will analyse the materials submitted, as appropriate, in accordance with the Rome Statute and with full independence and impartiality," the office of the ICC prosecutor said.

Dragged from his car

During the broadcast, police confronted Wine and said they wanted him to move his car.

He was dragged from the car as he pleaded that he had not broken the law.

"I am not even allowed to park on the side of the road," he said. "Please don't embarrass our country."

Wine said police had fired tear gas and bullets as they swarmed his car. After being removed from the vehicle, he was allowed to finish the briefing and drive on.

"I expect a live bullet targeted at me any time. The biggest safety we get is from having cameras around us. If I was not on camera maybe something worse would have happened," he said, wearing a helmet and flak jacket.

Wine spent Thursday campaigning for next week's presidential elections, as 23 members of his team were arrested.

The 38-year-old former pop star has been arrested multiple times while campaigning for allegedly contravening public order and COVID-19 restrictions.

His rallies are often dispersed with tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings and detentions.

Uganda's state minister for foreign affairs, Okello Oryem, told Reuters news agency that his ICC filing was "sheer desperation."

"(The opposition) have tried everything under the sun, they have failed. Now they are resorting to the ICC. We are a law-abiding country, we are a peace-loving country," he said.

aw/sms (AP, Reuters)

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