Crime & Investigation

African Leaders Can’t Escape ICC, Says Mbidde

Mukasa Mbidde speaking to ChimpReports at Parliament in Kampala this week

East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) member and Democratic Party Vice President, drug Fred Mukasa Mbidde has warned President Museveni and African Heads of States against insulting and abusing the International Criminal Court (ICC).

After taking an oath as the President of Uganda for the term 2016 to 2021 on May 12 at Kololo ceremonial grounds, site President Museveni lashed at the ICC, store calling them a ‘bunch of useless people’.

African Leaders under the African Union recently resolved to detach themselves from cooperating and relating with ICC with claims that the Court is only targeting African leaders.

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“I don’t blame President Museveni because he is not alone; most of the African leaders are jittery to the presence of the International Criminal Court to the extent that they have made extreme allegations that it only targets African leaders,” Mbidde told Chimp Reports this week at the Parliament of Uganda.

Mbidde explained that the ICC was created to apprehend all leaders that certainly kill their people without being questioned.

“All nations under the United Nations (UN) looked at what was happening in different countries experiencing extrajudicial killings on the hands of their leaders without a substantial court that could try such criminals,” Mbidde said.


He noted that these countries found it incumbent upon themselves to evolve a criminal justice system for the whole world that would apprehend those that would perpetrate crimes against humanity.

He remarked that several tribunals such as the International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights had no criminal jurisdictions and their judicial criminal service system was a temporary material.

Since its inception, the ICC has faced two primary critiques: first that it has been inefficient, and second that it has preoccupied itself with Africa and failed to investigate equally severe conflicts elsewhere.

In its first ten years, the ICC’s investigations and prosecutions all concerned situations in Africa.

The Court has issued arrest warrants for two African heads of state, and has opposed efforts by African governments to avoid ICC involvement in several situations.

Moreover, the Court has declined to investigate crimes allegedly committed in Venezuela and by British soldiers in Iraq.

These actions among others have led to charges, particularly among African political leaders, that the ICC is targeting Africa inappropriately.

However, Mbidde observed that the ICC was created since there was no court that could try a sitting leader who commits crimes against the people that he is leading.

“His Excellency (Museveni) and his colleagues had ganged up under what is called the African Union – whose leaders kill nationals on the African continent. That court is all out to stop the killings and to bring sanity into leadership because the Presidential systems on the African continent have too much power,” argued Mbidde.

AU directed all sitting heads of state not to respond to ICC warrants of arrest or honour summons to the Hague-based court.

Mbidde affirmed that without a control system under the ICC, “you will find people’s lives being determined by African leaders without anyone questioning them.”

Principles of indictment 

He further observed that it’s so unfortunate that many leaders don’t understand the operations of the ICC to the extent that they think they can get off the hook by merely passing a resolution to detach African Nations from the Court.

“It is true that the basis of the Court is the Rome Statute established in 2003. It is also true that State parties to the Rome Statute are liable in the event that they violate the human rights standards enshrined within the protocol but there are national and international justice systems that must be followed,” said the lawmaker.

“The first principle is Pactasut Savanda which determines that State parties must respect obligations to the protocol. This is only for parties that are signatories. The parties are required without any delay to respect the obligations that established the ICC. Accordingly they can be indicted because they are proper candidates,” he added’

“We have as well got the substantive principle of Jus Kogens. It does not matter whether you are a signatory to the Rome Statute. Once you are found to have violated and breached the established Human rights standards in the whole world you would be indicted by the ICC. “That is exactly why the South Sudan’s President Omar el Bashir is under indictment yet his country is not a signatory.”

He clarified: “African leaders can resolve and even detach themselves from the Rome Statute which only saves them under the Pactasut Savanda Principle but will definitely be indicted under the Jus Kogens principle.”

Mbidde challenged African leaders to as well file cases against American and European leaders if they think that they have violated any human rights standards.


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