Youth Human Rights Urge ICC to Prosecute President Museveni

By Norman Miwambo

The Netherlands-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is caught up in a sticky situation as the Youth for Human Rights (YouthRight) are pressing it to prosecute the serving Ugandan president and two of his commanders.

A March 1, 2010, petition to the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the jointly tendered document a copy obtained by this paper, the YouthRight say as bona-fide citizens of Uganda they are exercising their constitutional right to seek redress for a heinous wrong that was committed by President of Uganda and his two Commanders. The Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces [Yoweri Museveni], the Inspector General of Police [Maj. Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura ] and Army Commander Gen. Aronda Nyakayirima are the names singled out in the petition to The Hague-based ICC.

According to the Youth, they want the ICC to indict those deemed responsible for the shooting to death of 42 innocent unarmed Ugandans during a civil disturbance in the central region of Uganda between 10-12 Septembers.

Human Rights Watch puts the number to 27 people who were massacred on the streets of the capital Kampala and its surrounding when the protests broke-out as the government security agencies blocked preparations for Buganda King who was due to visit the area in his Kingdom. Buganda King is Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, a hereditary monarch who is revered by the Baganda, as the people from the most populous central region known as Buganda.

They: “Ordered the security forces to shoot to kill or maim, (in public pronouncements; voice and video recordings of which we have (AND WILL BE TENDERED AS EVIDENCE).”

“Ordered the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians, Showed no remorse nor regret after the cold blooded murder of at least 42 unarmed civilians by security agencies under their command and Showed no intention nor commitment to compensate the victims' families or kin,” reads part of the petition.

“On acting and behaving in this manner, the above persons against whom this petition is being tendered assumed that it is possible to kill innocent people and get away with it, because they have security protection and are above the law, reads the petition to the ICC prosecutor,” reads the petition to the ICC office which was also copied to the New York –based UN Security Council, African Union in Addis Ababa and the Arusha, Tanzania-based East African Community.

Among the local offices this petition was copied to include: The office of Chief Justice of Uganda, the Speaker of Uganda Parliament and to all the Religious Leaders.

The YouthRights urged the ICC Prosecutor Ocampo, to consider instituting criminal charges against the above persons and to cause the arrest President Museveni, Maj. Gen. Kayihura (Inspector Genral of Police and Gen. Nyakayirima (the army commander) for what they considered as gross violation of human right.

“We, the youth of Uganda, organized under the Inter Party Cooperation, an alliance of political parties with representation in parliament, beseech you to consider instituting CRIMINAL charges against the above persons AND TO CAUSE THE ARREST of these persons whenever they are found, for this gross violation of Human Rights and assumption of impunity,” says the group.

The petition was signed by youth members from Inter Party Cooperation which constitutes Uganda's major political parties. Mubejja Lawrence Conservative Party (CP), Emoit Evans Justice Forum (JEEMA), Mwijukye Francis of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Munyagwa Mubarak from Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Joseph Damulira of Uganda People's Congress (UPC), signed the petition.

“When a riot is being quelled, there are casualties but the government never killed people deliberately,” Uganda's Minister of Information and National Guidance, Kabakumba Matsiko told this reporter in a telephone interview when contacted for a comment. She added: “There were no deliberate killings of the people. Nobody was killed deliberately.”

Although, on June 8, 2006, New York-based The Wall Street Journal on its front page reported that the ICC had opened the investigations that would implicate Ugandan President on charges of crimes against humanity, Minister Matsiko sees no similarities, between Sudan's al Bashir and Uganda's Museveni.

“You can't compare Sudan President [Omar Hassan al-Bashir] and Ugandan President {Yoweri Museveni], these are two different cases,” said minister Kabakumba when asked if the Uganda government was not worried to have Museveni being indicted when is a sitting president as it is in the case of Sudan leader Al-Bashir.

“Sudan issue is quite different from the September 2009, incident. People were burning police station,” said Ms Kabakumba. Although, Human Rights reports documented all the causes of the death were gun shots, the minister says: “No all were killed by gun shots.” (see

“Those Human Rights Watch were not in Uganda, they record distorted information,” said Uganda's Information National Guidance Minister, Kabakumba . She added: “To take the issue to the ICC they [YouthRight] don't know the procedures.”