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ICC Prosecutor in Uganda Ahead of Bashir’s Visit

Risdel Kasasira


The International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor, Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, arrived in Uganda on Saturday to consult President Museveni on the arrest warrants of Lords Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo, who issued arrest warrants for Mr Bashir and Kony, is trying to convince the African Union, which says Gen. Bashir should not be arrested for war crimes and crimes against humanity charges, to support the arrest of the Sudanese leader.

The Chief Prosecutor’s trip is a threat to Gen. Bashir’s expected visit to Uganda on July 27 for the 2009 Smart Partnership Dialogue in Kampala.
However, State Minister for International Affairs Henry Oryem Okello told Daily Monitor in a phone interview that Gen. Bashir will not be arrested.
“He (Moreno-Ocampo) has come to consult with President Museveni on LRA, Darfur and the arrest warrant of Bashir. But Gen. Bashir has been invited here by the Uganda government and he will not be arrested,” he said. Before he came to Uganda, Mr Oryem said, Mr Moreno-Ocampo was in Bunia, DR Congo where Kony has been abducting and killing civilians. He said Moreno-Ocampo’s visit is also in preparation for the ICC review meeting next year in Uganda where proposed changes in laws governing the court will be discussed.
According to government sources, Mr Moreno-Ocampo, came with his camera crew to shoot a documentary on the atrocities committed by the LRA, which will be used as evidence in the war crimes court, in case Kony is arrested. After his arrival at Entebbe International Airport on Saturday, the chief prosecutor had a meeting with Security Minister Amama Mbabazi who was flying to China.

The war crimes court, has also issued two arrest warrants - in 2007 - for Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ahmed Haroun and the Janjaweed militia leader Ali Abdul Rahman.

At the AU summit two weeks ago, African leaders said their request to the UN Security Council to delay Mr Bashir’s indictment had been ignored, so they would not help arrest the Sudan’s leader. But Moreno-Ocampo is instead pushing for the genocide charges against Gen. Bashir whose expected visit to Kampala hangs in balance.

United Nations says the Khartoum government led by Bashir is behind the death of 300,000 people and displacement of more than two million people  who have fled their homes in Darfur. However, President Bashir has denied all the prosecution’s allegations, saying the state has a responsibility to fight rebels who took up arms in Darfur in 2003.
Source: Monitor Online
Tags:Uganda, Omar El- Bashir, ICC Prosecutor in Uganda Ahead of Bashir’s Visit
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