If He's Serious, General Yoweri Museveni Must Accept ICC Investigation Of Atrocities Allegedly Tied To Him
Gen. Museveni -- Otunnu, opposition leader and former top UN official wants him to accept ICC probe
[Global: Africa]Olara A. Otunnu, the former United Nations Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and now President of Uganda People's Congress political opposition party in the East African country held a press conference to address remarks by Uganda's ruler, Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni last Sunday in which for the first time he acknowledged atrocities by his forces against civilians in the northern part of Uganda. Gen. Museveni was speaking on NRM Day, the date he seized power 28 years ago.
Otunnu told media that if Gen. Museveni is sincere about his comments he should agree to an independent Truth-Commission to look at all past atrocities in Uganda and allow the International Criminal Court to investigate genocide. The following are excerpts of Otunnu's comments in Uganda to the media:
Finally Museveni said the NRA line, meaning his deception, that the NRA was a people's army, without blemish, committed no crimes, was, is, and continues to be a big lie.
This is my take on Museveni's statement on Sunday. But I say this to Yoweri Museveni.
What you said on Sunday is too late. But it may not yet be too late; although it could soon be too late as well. There are two steps he can take. Please convey this to him.
I challenge you to take two specific steps.
One is that if he's serious about truth-telling then right away, beginning today he should offer to be ready to discuss the modalities for setting up a truth-telling Commission. Meaning, the selection of any [inaudible] individuals both within Uganda and outside Uganda, to investigate the genocide in northern Uganda and other atrocities on which I have spoken to you before.
I don 't speak only about northern Uganda. I am happy to elaborate on this if you want this. That's the first step. To show that he's serious and that he's not just simply seeking to say a little bit, in order to perpetrate a huge coverup.
Secondly, Museveni has said to Ocampo [Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor] who was then the Prosecutor of the ICC, 'Mr. Ocampo I want you to look in that direction. The direction of Joseph kony [leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA]. Don't look in my direction. Investigate Joseph Kony; but don't touch me and those around me.' And as a result Mr. Ocampo investigated Joseph Kony. He was indicted. He should be appearing before the ICC. I welcome the prospects of Joseph Kony and his commanders appearing before the ICC.
Joseph Kony deserves to be indicted and to be tried before the ICC. But you know what? So does Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. He is the other side of this crises.
He was the commander, the chief perpetrator of atrocities on the other side. Indeed we even have examples of atrocities clearly committed by the NRA (Museveni's then National Resistance Army; Museveni now commands the Uganda People's Defense Force) and then [blamed] off on the LRA.
One example in Corner Kilak you may remember? The incident about cooking body parts in a pot.
The massacre committed by the NRA under Museveni. They put the [body parts] in the pot, began cooking them, then brought the camera to take the picture. To tell the world this is what the LRA is doing.
You remember Bar Lonyo in Lango; what happened in Bar Lonyo? All the locals will tell you this was done by the NRA under Yoweri Museveni. To this date, no investigations have taken place.
So, tell the ICC, 'I Museveni now accept that I and my commanders and those who were prosecuting the war in northern Uganda should be fully investigated by the ICC.'
These are two steps he can take to demonstrate that he is serious about the so-called apology. And he's serious about discovering that atrocities were committed by his forces in northern Uganda.
This is what I wanted to share with you about Museveni's remarks this last Sunday, on NRM Day.