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Sunday, 1 March 2015

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda perpetuates Ocampo’s hypocrisy by stealthily refusing to investigate a possible Museveni and UPDF hand in the Northern Uganda genocide: Ugandan MPs want ICC to probe UPDF

Lawmakers from northern and eastern Uganda have urged the International Criminal Court to also investigate atrocities allegedly committed by the Ugandan army during the LRA conflict, The Observer has learnt.

At least 10 MPs from Acholi, Lango, West Nile, and Teso sub-regions told ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Friday that although LRA leader Joseph Kony was the main aggressor, he was not the only one: some government agencies and state agents may have committed ugly atrocities too. 

Bensouda and the MPs met behind closed doors at Parliament. The prosecutor had earlier told speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga that she had come to Uganda to ask for more cooperation on the case of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, and visit the affected communities in the north to compare notes, listen to their concerns and clarify issues.

While meeting the MPs from areas ravaged by 20 years of insurgency, Bensouda reportedly steered clear of controversy. She said her major focus during the five-day visit to Uganda was to collect more evidence on Ongwen’s case at The Hague-based ICC.

She, however, offered a bit of hope to MPs when she reportedly promised that ICC would not hesitate to summon government to defend itself against any allegations made by any witness during Ongwen’s trial.
But her promise, sources said, propelled MPs to question ICC’s capacity to investigate and prosecute government agencies and individuals ‘linked’ to some of the atrocities committed during the more-than-20-year-old insurgency.

MPs, according to sources, also wanted to know the prosecutor’s take on the severe criticism against ICC by African presidents, including Museveni. In response, Bensouda said the criticism would not deter ICC from continuing to pursue cases before them in order to deter impunity. 

On Ongwen’s case, the prosecutor told Kadaga that while the sudden transfer of Ongwen to The Hague was quite a surprise to the ICC, it was also “a significant development” which sent “a very strong signal that no matter how long it may take, you will find yourself still before the [ICC] if warrants [of arrest] are there for you.”

Ongwen, who was abducted by the LRA aged 10, was indicted in 2005, but only surrendered recently in the Central African Republic. In her speech, Kadaga welcomed Bensouda and pledged her total support towards ensuring the success of the ICC.