Schumer, U.S. Senator Blasts Gen. Museveni For Embracing Sudan's Bashir -- mocking ICC

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Senator Schumer

Two weeks after American officials walked out of the swearing in ceremony for Gen. Yoweri Museveni a prominent U.S. Senator has denounced the Ugandan ruler's conduct in a statement to The Black Star News.

"The U.S. delegation had every right to walk out and protest the presence of President al-Bashir and Museveni," said Charles E. Schumer, the ranking Democratic senator from New York State. "Mocking efforts to protect victims of genocide and war crimes should not and will not be tolerated."

Schumer is expected to become Senate Majority Leader should the Democrats win back the chamber in the November U.S. elections.

During his swearing-in on May 12 following Uganda's widely criticized and disputed election Gen. Museveni, who has been in office since he seized power 30 years ago said the International Criminal Court (ICC) was "a bunch of useless people." One of his guests of honor at the event was President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of the Sudan who is under ICC indictment on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges.

Gen. Museveni's comments prompted the immediate departure from the ceremony, in Kampala, of the U.S. delegation headed by Assistant Secretary of State Bruce Wharton and ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac, as well as the Canadian and EU delegations.

Gen. Museveni was once a big supporter of the ICC and invited it to investigate notorious Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander Joseph Kony, leading to his indictment together with other rebel commanders.

Gen. Museveni has been highly critical of the court since The Wall Street Journal reported in 2006 that the court had opened an investigation into alleged crimes by Ugandan soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that Museveni had pleaded with then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to block that probe.

Museveni's swearing in was a day after Dr. Kizza Besigye who has claimed victory was sworn in as president. He's currently under arrest and has been charged with treason.

The Feb. 18 election was ruled by Ugandan election observers, the Commonwealth, the EU, and the U.S. as having not been free, fair and credible.

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