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Uganda People`s Petition to the ICC
THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT AT THE HAGUE IN THE MATTER CONCERNING A PETITION TO THE PROSECUTOR FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT BY THE PEOPLE OF UGANDA AGAINST GENERAL YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI AND OTHERS PETITION [Brought under Articles 5, 13 (c), 15 and 53 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court] The undersigned PETITIONERS, being aggrieved citizens of the Republic Uganda of sound mind, hereby state as follows; WHEREAS; the Republic of Uganda is a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and indeed enacted Municipal legislation to domesticate the same vide;…... AND WHEREAS the following International legal framework provides for the safeguard and protection of the fundamental and other human rights of all people and the Republic of Uganda subscribes thereto; a) Universal Declaration of Human Rights; The Instrument recognizes that ‘the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. It further declares that human rights are universal – to be enjoyed by all people, no matter who they are or where they live and the inter-alia include civil and political rights; the right to life, liberty, free speech, conscience, assembly and privacy. they also include economic, social and cultural rights, like the right to social security, health and education. b) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 2(1) of the ICESCR refers to the obligation of every State Party to take steps, individually and through international assistance and cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the Covenant by all appropriate means. c) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The covenant obligates state parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial. d) Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The prohibition against torture and other forms of ill-treatment is well established as one of the absolute rights which must be respected without any restriction or derogation. This applies even in times of war or threat of war, internal political instability or public emergency, and there are no exceptional circumstances whatsoever under which torture can be justified, including any threat of terrorist acts or violent crime, or religious or traditional justification. Article 2 of the Convention provides that a State Party has an obligation to take effective measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction, including legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures. Further, Article 2(2) states that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever” may be invoked in justification of torture. e) International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance It is proclaimed in Art 1 of the Convention that no one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance. NOTING that under Article 5 of the Rome Statute the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court is confined to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, in respect to the following crimes: a) The crime of genocide; b) Crimes against humanity; c) War crimes; d) The crime of aggression. a. Murder; b. Extermination; c. Enslavement; d. Deportation or forcible transfer of population; e. Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; f. Torture; g. Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; h. Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; i. Enforced disappearance of persons; AWARE that Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC defines the offence of "crime against humanity" to mean any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: j. Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. k. Etcetera RECOGNISING that the Rome Statute vests both investigative and prosecution powers and mandate in the office of the Prosecutor; General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assumed office as President of the Republic of Uganda in January 1986 after a five-year guerilla war waged by the National Resistance Army (NRA) ostensibly to restore democratic governance and Rule of Law in the country and has over the years institutionalized a Gun Rule, abrogated the Constitution, subdued the sovereignty of the people and all State Institutions and continuously retained state power through manipulation of the country’s electoral processes. NOTING FURTHER that during the most recent Presidential Election of 2016, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni carried out an outright coup de’tat by subverting the Will of the people, detaining Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye, a candidate who had been returned by the people of Uganda as the Validly elected president with over 51% of the votes cast, and subsequently arraigning him on trumped-up charges of treason, which up-to-date has never been disposed of. AND WHEREAS the Petitioners vehemently contend that General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and a number of high ranking security and public officers, (hereinafter referred to as “his Accomplices”), have committed heinous crimes and gross human rights violations categorized as crimes against humanity to the People of Uganda jointly and severally, for which he is liable to be subpoenaed, prosecuted, tried, convicted and punished by the International Criminal Court; NOW THEREFORE the PETITIONERS would like to present and state their case as hereunder; 1. Suppression, torture and extra-judicial killing of Ugandans As a means of holding onto the illegitimately and illegally assumed power, General Museveni and his accomplices have continuously unleashed violence and terror against the citizens of Uganda to keep them muzzled and subdued. Additionally, Gen. Museveni’s regime has, at the altar of consolidation of a personal rule, committed gross human rights violations and atrocities, including but not limited to torture, suppression, repression, incarcerations and elimination or killing of people opposed, or perceived to be opposed, to the sitting regime. This has been systematically done countrywide and state-orchestrated massacres have been carried out in various parts of the country and the most recent one being the infamous Kaseese massacre that took place in the aftermath of the 2016 General elections, when security forces under the command of General Museveni and his Accomplices raided the palace of King Charles Wesley Mumbere, a cultural leader of the Bakonzo people, in Kasese District and massacred hundreds of people in the most savage manner one can imagine of. To date, no report and/or accountability has ever been given by the regime or any other local or International organization or agency. Similar massacres have been carried with impunity in Acholi Sub Region, Teso, Lango, West Nile, the killing of many people by security personnel during the 2009 Buganda Central Government stand-off over Bugerere county and 2011 walk – to – work civil protests and none of the masterminds and perpetrators of the same has been brought to book. 2. Invasion of Parliament and desecration or abrogation of the National Constitution On 27th October 2017, during the debate of a Constitutional (Amendment) Bill which aimed at the removal of all constitutional safeguards against General Museveni’s life Presidency plan, one of General Museveni’s militia groups – Special Forces Command (SFC), members of the Uganda Defense Forces and other security operatives invaded the chambers Parliament of Uganda, brutally harangued, beat up and dragged out several Members of Parliament, transported them in police vans and confined them in ungazetted places. Resultantly, a constitutional provision which had rendered Gen. Museveni ineligible in the forthcoming presidential elections, on account of advanced age, was violently deleted. This was done in blatant disregard of Art. 3 of our National Constitution which makes treasonable for any person to abrogate or amend the constitution using violent means. The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga is on record writing to General Museveni thus; “… I am seeking an explanation as to the identity, mission and purpose of the unsolicited forces. I am also seeking an explanation about why they assaulted the MPs.” To date, Gen. Museveni has flagrantly refused to respond to the said letter. 3. Use of the state security apparatus and a plethora of Militia Groups to persecute, dehumanize and humiliate political opponents, members of civil society organizations and the citizenry. Gen. Museveni has over the years personalized the entire security apparatus which has systemically and systematically morphed into a terror machine. The institution of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, the Police force and other state security agencies are currently used as the most lethal political tools to persecute Gen. Museveni”s political opponents, civil society and the citizenry and to also clamp down on the lawful and legitimate activities and programs of the Country’s political dissent and civic action. Opposition political parties, civil society organizations and ordinary Ugandans have been barred from holding assemblies and/or rallies for purposes of disseminating and/or advancing their party platforms, programs and legitimate development agenda and any attempt to organize the same is met with brutal force and violence. Additionally, the regime has established a number of illegal paramilitary groups, hit squads and militia to wit; Special Forces Command, Commandos, Crime preventers, Kiboko squad, Boda Boda 2010, Wembly, Local Defense Unit, and Flying Squad etc. These terror outfits have wreaked havoc in Kampala and other parts of the country and have immensely terrorized the Citizens and curtailed their participation in the governance of the Country. 4. Enforced disappearances and curtailment of Civil Liberties. Uganda is currently engulfed in horrendous fear and tension as many political leaders, clerics and ordinary citizens disappear or get killed in cold blood under very mysterious circumstances. Kidnaps, abductions, illegal arrests and enforced disappearances are a commonplace occurrence today. Many Ugandans are violently and mysteriously whisked away by members of the aforesaid terror machine and security agencies and held incommunicado in secret detention facilities commonly known as “safe houses”, tortured and some eliminated incognito for the sole purpose of entrenching Gen. Museveni’s rule. A number of such dungeons and torture chambers like the notorious Nalufenya special detention facility, situate across River Nile in the Eastern part of the country, have been established various parts of the country and a score of Ugandans have been tortured, dehumanized, maimed and killed from such facilities and may are still languishing there, with little or no hope of securing a remedy or regaining their liberties and freedom. Prayer for intervention Thanks to the pervasive impunity reigning supreme in the country, the individual perpetrators of these heinous crimes cannot be brought to justice. The independence and efficacy of both the legislative and judicial arms of the state and government have been systemically whittled and eroded by the Gen. Museveni’s “Iron fist Rule”. The domestic criminal justice system has been terribly debilitated and emasculated that it cannot reasonably atone for and/or address these systemic and endemic transgressions and violations. The intervention of the ICC is not only desirable but inevitable if only we are to stave off a catastrophe of grave magnitude that awaits the Pearl of Africa. WHEREFORE YOUR PETITIONERS pray for the following; a) That the egregious violations of the fundamental and other rights of the Petitioners and other Ugandans by Mr Yoweri Museveni and his Accomplices tantamount to crimes against humanity within the meaning of Article 7 of the Rome Statute and that the same reasonably warrant investigations, Indictment and trial by the ICC. b) That the Prosecutor of the ICC be pleased to initiate prosecution of General Museveni and his Accomplices before the ICC and further cause for the investigation to be conducted in regard to his illegal and gross human rights violations meted out on the People of Uganda. We have compiled cogent and overwhelming evidence to support indictment on the aforesaid crimes against humanity, which includes damning reports of different local and international human rights organizations and humanitarian agencies, individual accounts and testimonies of victims of state-inspired violence and torture, dossiers by whistleblowers and good Samaritans within the security agencies as well as graphic, visual and audio recordings.