Members of parliament across the political divide have today dismissed with suspicion, a statement by the Attorney General William Byaruhanga, regarding the position of Uganda on the International Criminal Court.
The Attorney General, William Byaruhanga told Parliament today, that Uganda has not notified the ICC or any organization of the intentions to withdraw from the Rome Statute, which sets up the ICC.
“Government had not and has not notified any person or organization that it was or is withdrawing from the Rome Statute. According to the apprehension that we are withdrawing from the Rome Statute both within Uganda and abroad, it is purely based on conjecture,” Byaruhanga said in a statement to Parliament.
However members including Dokolo South MP Felix Okot Ogong, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda of Kiira Municipality and William Nzoghu of Busongora North deferred saying that Uganda still needs the ICC.
“As a country, we signed and we have never wished to withdraw, we have witnessed how Kony massacred our people, we can’t quit,” said Okot Ogong.
The law maker also said that, “since there are already cases committed to the ICC such as the ongoing trial of Dominic Ongwen a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, it would be irrational for government to even think of withdrawing.”
Mr Semujju demanded the attorney General to be specific instead of “speaking ambiguously.”
According to Mr Byaruhanga, Uganda simply raised concerns, an agreeable stand with African Union’s anti-ICC directive because of perceived target on African leaders, and that talk of withdrawal were street talk.
Mr Byuaruhanga emphasized that “Uganda has not yet decided to withdraw from the ICC and continues to cooperate with it.”
Geoffrey Macho (NRM-Busia Municipality) said the Attorney General’s statement caused more confusion than satisfaction, and blamed government for lack of a political will towards the international court of arbitration.
“I see there is no political goodwill towards the ICC, we speak this
in Uganda and we speak differently outside Uganda…let us tell Ugandans
whether we support ICC or we go with the African Union,” said Macho.
Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, said the statement betrays Uganda’s alleged commitment to the court yet they failed to arrest Sudan President Omar Bashir as required by the indictment.
“This is simply a misleading statement because it provides a peek into the intentions of Government; it is not even true that you are cooperating because you could have arrested Bashir.”
Busongora North MP William Nzoghu cautioned, that it would be a blunder for government to exit from ICC when there are pending investigations into recent Kasese killings, focusing on key political figures in the country.
The attorney General AG however maintained that his statement was based on truth and whatever he stated was the position of government.