KAMPALA- The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has cautioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it risks being alienated and rejected by African nations.
Mr Oulanyah accused the ICC of bias exhibited against African leaders.
“The ICC’s continued harassment of African leaders, positions it as a vehicle of neo-colonialism which we as African nations should reject. We need to revisit our commitment to the ICC if they continue this attack against our counterparts. We cannot afford to sit back and look the other side as Sudan, Congo and Kenya are harassed,” Mr Oulanyah said on Tuesday while speaking at the 45th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels.
He added: ‘We in Uganda were among the first to embrace the ICC because we needed help to handle and arrest the leaders of Lord’s Resistance Army; we could not handle the task alone. Additionally, a number of African countries decided to join the ICC so as to jointly fight impunity on the continent regarding crimes against humanity. However, to our dismay, we are finding that the line that the ICC is toing has defeated its purpose of existence.”
Mr Oulanyah joins a chorus of voices of various African leaders to castigate the ICC for alleged bias and sound threats to pull outof The Hague-based court.
President Museveni has, on several occasions, lambasted the ICC for allegedly targeting African leaders before referring to them as a bunch of ‘useless’ people.
In April 2013, while speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr Museveni again lashed at ICC saying the West is using the court to eliminate certain African leaders they don’t like.
In defence of the ICC, the court’s President Judge Silvia Fernandez De Gurmendi on her recent visit to northern Uganda, assured African leaders that the world court is not targeting only African leaders to have them prosecuted but it is rather playing its role of dispensing justice world-wide.
He cited an example that the office of the ICC prosecutor has opened investigations into crimes committed in Georgia.
The ICC president judge said the world court was created to bring individual perpetrators to justice.
“The court indeed focused most of the years on the situations in Africa. But most of them were brought to court by the state partners concerned, the court started its investigation upon request where some of the atrocities were committed,” Ms Fernandez said.
Different contributors at the ongoing meeting, expressed concern over the impartiality of the ICC, stating that the institution was undermining the independence of African nations; with the DRC referring to the prosecution of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta as ‘uncomfortable and humiliating’ .