Parliament has today, Tuesday 4th April, 2017, tasked the government to pronounce itself on the status of Uganda’s membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Legislators said that they had heard contradictory statements from the government about its intention to either remain or exit the ICC.
The discussion ensued following a presentation by the Attorney General, Hon. William Byaruhanga’s of a statement on the position of Uganda regarding the ICC.
This was in response to a concern tabled by Hon. Ojara Okin (Chwa West) that Uganda was in the process of withdrawing from ICC, yet there are pending cases referred to the Court by her.
Hon. Bernard Atiku (Ayivu) said that it was premature and unnecessary for Uganda to withdraw from the ICC yet its people are to benefit from the Court proceedings. “We should support the ICC and continue cooperating with it so that we live in dignity,” Atiku said.
Hon. William Nzoghu (Busongora North) added that the people of Kasese district will be very disappointed in the Parliament if Uganda exists from the ICC.
“It is this Parliament that ratified Uganda’s membership to the ICC. We should accept that Uganda is bigger than we are, and will exist after us, before we let something like this happen,” Nzoghu said, adding that, “As MPs and in the interest of justice and international unity let us support co-operation with ICC.”
Nzoghu said that the government exists with the mandate of the people and should therefore function with reality. He added that it is unfair for the government to consider withdrawing from the ICC.
Hon. Patrick Nsamba (Kassanda South) added that the President of Uganda has often spoken clearly against ICC yet it is imbedded in the laws of the country. “We as Ugandans demand a clear stand on the position of the government on whether, after adopting the ICC, it is still interested in conforming to it,” Nsamba said.
Hon. Jacquiline Amongin (Ngora District) said that she had learnt that in the recent African Union Heads of State Summit, there was a decision taken that member states were free to choose to either remain as members of the ICC or leave.
“My question to the government therefore is; what is our stand as Uganda? Are we going to leave or not?” Amongin said.
The Attorney General responded saying that many of the African states noticed a continuous trend of favouritism on the side of the ICC when executing its mandate.
“We want reforms so that the ICC statute is something that the AU can associate itself with. We do not intend to leave the ICC,” Byaruhanga said.
Byaruhanga added that the decision as to whether Uganda stays or leaves the ICC is still an on-going debate in Cabinet.