Should Gen. Yoweri Museveni Be Tried By ICC For Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes?
Gen. Museveni: wear-and-tear from 28 years?
Contrary to popular belief in some quarters around the world Uganda's ruler Gen. Yoweri Museveni has been a principal player in the destabilization of the East and Central Africa region, resulting in millions dead, millions wounded and millions displaced and billions of dollars worth of properties and infrastructure destroyed.
He has also participated in or facilitated plunder of the resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and massacres with serious environmental outcomes.
At the start of his administration in 1986 after five years of a guerrilla war centered in the Luwero Triangle where half of the population perished and extensive destruction of property occurred, Gen. Museveni promised good neighborly relations. He even assured the late Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana that he would not export his revolution to his country. At regional and international conferences and summits Gen. Museveni preached peace, stability and security as a requirement for economic growth and social development.
He was dubbed the dean of a "new breed" of African leaders; events have exposed the term as oxymoronic especially for an anti-democratic ruler 28 years in power.
Sadly his rhetoric has been contradicted by his actions. His hidden agenda of creating a Pan-Tutsi empire led him to engage in military adventurism that destabilized the region as he supported insurgencies and removed governments in the Great Lakes region starting in Burundi.
Museveni’s involvement is well-documented in Burundi’s 1993 coup that resulted in the death of Melchior Ndadaye, the first elected Hutu president, and many senior officials and triggered a genocide.
Gen. Museveni and Paul Kagame reportedly planned the coup at a meeting in Entebbe. The two top coup plotters fled when it failed and were subsequently granted asylum by Gen. Museveni in Uganda, including Lt. Paul Kamana.
Gen. Museveni originally denied but eventually admitted supporting the Rwanda Patriotic Front and Army (RPF/A) that invaded Rwanda from Uganda starting in 1990 until it captured power after the genocide of 1994. Up to one million Hutu and Tutsi were killed. Gen. Museveni was honored by Gen. Kagame and Rwanda for his role in the RPF/A victory.
It is also reported in the New York Times Almanac of 2006 that by 1993 as many as one million people had been displaced. And by the end of the genocide three million Hutu had become refugees who were followed in DRC and murdered in large numbers by Kagame's RPF as The New York Times' reporter Howard French (now a professor at Columbia University) and other writers have shown.
Rwanda suffered a double genocide including in the forests of DRC.
Under the pretext of protecting Banaymulenge (a Tutsi clan living in eastern DRC) against a possible genocide, Gen. Museveni's and Gen. Kagame's troops first invaded Zaire, now DRC, in 1996-1997, and massacred people all the way to Kinshasa. The second invasion of DRC by Gen. Museveni's and Gen. Kagame's troops starting in 1998 brought in troops including from Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe who sided with then Congo president Laurent Kabila, and launched Africa’s World War. The outcomes were catastrophic.
Gen. Museveni has twice been involved in the wars in Sudan and South Sudan. He supported the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) and provoked the Khartoum government to support the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony that resulted in over 20 years of war in the Northern and Eastern regions of Uganda with tragic consequences including disfiguring many survivors.
Currently, Gen. Museveni is supporting the South Sudan government of Salva Kiir in its war against the opposition, including Riek Machar, causing many deaths, displacements of many people and destruction of property. Gen. Museveni has refused requests by some African leaders, including Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, and some of our development partners, to leave South Sudan; he's thereby constraining prospects for reaching a negotiated settlement of disputes.
Museveni’s involvement in Kenya’s internal affairs is well known including in the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections of 2007 that triggered unprecedented fight in the Rift Valley with over 1,000 dead, many more displaced and properties destroyed. He has now been warned by Kenyans including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, that he should stop interfering in the domestic affairs of Kenya.
Because of the destabilization and insecurity Museveni has caused and alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes, including genocide, an increasing number of commentators believe that there is a prima facie case for Museveni to be taken to the ICC for trial.
Gen. Museveni has been aware of his precarious position for some time now.
On June 8, 2006 The Wall Street Journal reported: "In April 2004, nearly a year after Mr. Moreno-Ocampo floated the idea of a Congolese case, Congo President Joseph Kabila referred alleged war crimes within his nation to the ICC. Mr. Moreno-Ocampo set up a separate team to investigate atrocities there, which will likely involve reviewing Uganda's alleged support for Congolese militias. President Museveni of Uganda asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to block the Congo investigation, according to one person familiar with the matter. Mr. Annan replied that he had no power to interfere with the court, this person said. A Ugandan government spokesman, Robert Kabushenga, declines to comment on the matter."
Has that investigation and others in fact been blocked? If so they must be allowed to proceed.
The AU and the UN should not ignore this important call.
Eric Kashambuzi is Secretary General,United Democratic Ugandans (UDU)