Arua-Activists have asked Uganda government to arrest the ‘wanted’ President of Sudan, Al Bashir.
Bashir is on state visit to Uganda with President Yoweri Museveni and other leaders. Past calls by the International Criminal Court (ICC) failed in South Africa, where an attempt was made at Johannesburg Airport.
Bashir has been accused of crime against humanity especially in his country Sudan and before the independence of South Sudan, which has up to now been embroiled in conflicts. At the meeting with president Museveni, they are expected to discuss the peaceful solutions to ending the war in the neighboring South Sudan.
In a press statement, the Director for Human Rights Network, Mohammed Ndifuna, said: “We the undersigned civil society organisations are deeply alarmed to learn that Uganda will be hosting Bashir. There are two outstanding warrants of arrest against Bashir which were issued by ICC. We call upon the government of Uganda to arrest and surrender President Al Bashir to the ICC for trial.”
Upon arrival at Entebbe Airport, Bashir was welcomed by a group of dancers and security was tightened in order to avoid any scenarios of arrest. This is not the first time that Uganda government has not heeded to the calls of arrest of Bashir as in May 2016, Bashir safely travelled and attended Museveni’s inauguration.
Museveni and Bashir at an earlier meeting. Internet Photos
Charges against Bashir
The charges cover violence that erupted there in 2003 when Bashir allegedly ordered a counterinsurgency in the conflict between Arab-dominated government and non-Arab rebel groups.
President Museveni has always criticized the ICC although it signed the Rome Statute to be a member. This was chiefly aimed at trying the LRA commanders, who are accused of committing crimes against humanity in Northern Uganda and now holed up in Central Africa.
Why his arrests remains a myth for Uganda
The continued criticism of ICC by Museveni makes it increasingly difficult for Uganda government to arrest President Bashir as he is the head of the army and so making arrest orders is hard. Secondly, Uganda government fears jeopardizing the international relations with Sudan.
Thirdly, Uganda cannot spoil the relationship as it now enjoys the boom in trade with Sudan. Sudan is now a leading importer of Ugandan coffee.
Although at one time, Uganda government accused Sudan government of supplying arms and supporting the Lord’s Resistance Army Leader, Joseph Kony and his fighters.
As the plans of the Human Rights Activists has so far failed, the question remains whether a sitting President, wanted on charges of crimes against humanity for his government’s violence against civilians in the Darfur conflict, be held accountable under international law?
And so the sitting President always is endowed with immunity especially from arrests. The process of arresting has to start from court, which in the case of Uganda, it was not instituted and Human Rights were acting on the warrant issued by ICC.