Uganda’s withdrawal from ICC will depend on AU decision

Thursday November 17 2016

PM Ruhakana Rugunda told Parliament this

PM Ruhakana Rugunda told Parliament this afternoon that Uganda's final decision on its status in the ICC will be hinged on a decision by the AU's resolution to withdraw support to the international crimes body under the Rome Statute. PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINC BUKENYA  

By AGENCIES

Government says its position on whether to withdraw from the International Criminal Court solely lies with the African Union.
Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda told Parliament on Wednesday that Uganda's final decision on its status in the ICC will be hinged on a decision by the AU's resolution to withdraw support to the international crimes body under the Rome Statute.

Mr Rugunda, however said in the event that such a position is taken, government through the Attorney General's office will also look into how it will handle the case of former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Dominic Ongwen, who is currently in the Hague on trial over atrocities committed by the rebels in Northern Uganda.

Mr Rugunda was responding to concerns by Chua West MP Ojara Okin during Prime Minister's question time on Uganda's position in the face of withdrawal by some African countries from the ICC.
Some of the countries include South Africa, Burundi and Gambia, which recently announced intention to withdraw from the ICC. Russia has also withdrawn its signature from the Rome Statute that sets up the ICC.

It also comes on the backdrop of a decision by African Union, rallying member states to withdraw from the ICC, on grounds that the continent can formulate its own mechanisms to handle war crimes and crimes against humanity.
MP Ojara said government should state how it is planning to withdraw Ongwen's case.
He was supported by Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiiza who wondered why government supported the trial of Ongwen in the ICC, as well as indictments on LRA leader, Joseph Kony and other commanders.

However, Dr Rugunda explained that the Attorney General will guide government on the process to handle the case.
Debate on the ICC has raged on for years, with several African leaders, including President Museveni, accusing the court of targeting African presidents like Sudan's Omar el Bashir.
Neighbouring Kenya, in 2013, threatened to withdraw from the ICC, after it indicted President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto over alleged crimes committed during the 2007 post-election violence.
There are 120 countries that signed the Rome Statute.

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