U.S. Envoy Defends Museveni Inauguration Walk-Out Top story

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In short
Ambassador Bruce Wharton, the Principal Deputy Secretary for African Affairs told Journalists in Kampala this morning that Uganda, as a state party, is obliged to abide by the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.

American diplomats have said that their walk out of the inauguration ceremony of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni in Kampala, Thursday, was sparked off by displeasure over demeaning statements on the mandate of the International Criminal Court.

Museveni in his speech described ICC as ‘a bunch of useless people.' The comment was in relation to indictments issued against Sudanese President Gen Omar Al-Bashir, who, in a surprise move, graced the swearing in ceremony and Inauguration at Kololo Independence Grounds.
 
This, was the first time Bashir came to Uganda since he was indicted by the ICC in 2009 for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur, making him the first sitting Head of State to be indicted by the Court.

Ambassador Bruce Wharton, the ‎Principal Deputy Secretary for African Affairs told Journalists in Kampala this morning that Uganda, as a state party, is obliged to abide by the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.

The states parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC are sovereign states that have ratified, or have otherwise become party to the Rome Statute. Uganda signed the Rome Statute on March 17, 1999 and ratified it on June 14 2002.

Accompanied by United States Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac, Wharton says that most of the ICC indictments are a response to African countries, including Uganda for which the country should offer support.

//Cue In: We made that decision…
Cue Out:…good relationship with Uganda//
 
Although, international human rights organization's had called for Bashir's arrest on the basis of the ICC indictments, The Sudanese president successfully attended the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni in Uganda yesterday.

The United States is not a state party to the Rome Statute. However, the envoys say that they hinge their interest to indictments on case by case basis.

Wharton however says it is important for countries to stand up and criticize actions that endanger the lives of citizens.
 
//Cue In: We are not a signatory…
Cue Out:…around the world//

The ICC has jurisdiction over certain international crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes that are committed by nationals of state parties or within the territory of state parties. S

State parties are obliged to co-operate with the ICC when it requires, such as in arresting and transferring indicted persons or providing access to evidence and witnesses.

But several African states, including Comoros, Djibouti, and Senegal have previously called on African states parties to withdraw from the statute in protest against allegations that the Court targets Africa, in response to the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Kenya's National Assembly also passed a motion in 2013 to withdraw from the ICC in protest against the ICC investigation in Kenya, involving the current President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.