Sudanese President Omar Bashir arrived in Uganda for a two day state visit despite an International Criminal Court arrest warrant hanging over his head like a specter.
President Yoweri Museveni laid down the red carpet and accorded a 21 Gun Salute to the Sudanese head of State despite calls by civil society groups that he instead be arrested and handed over to the Hague where he is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity for perpetrating atrocities in the Darfur region.
The ICC has two pending arrest warrants issued in 2009 and 2010 for Bashir over five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, torture and rape allegedly committed between 2003 and 2008 in the Darfur region.
And six Civil Society Organizations, namely International Centre for Transitional Justice, Human Rights Network Uganda, Uganda Coalition for the International Court, Avocats Sans Frontieres, Atrocities Watch and Foundation for Justice and Development Initiative demanded the SUdanese man of war be caged and not welcome.
Hurinet coordinator Muhammad Ndifuna told journalists on Monday thus: “As a party to the Rome Statute, Uganda has an unequivocal obligation to cooperate with ICC in relation to enforcement of warrants of arrest issued against Omar Bashir, Inviting an international criminal suspect to Uganda not only undermines the fight against impunity which Uganda has for long championed but also betrays the concerns and interests of the victim of the most heinous crimes.”
Museveni has in the past criticized the ICC calling them useless and racist for targeting Africans. He has on several occasions threatened to withdraw from ICC but he has never taken the move to pull Uganda out.
The two leaders are holding bilateral discussions on trade and security.
President Bashir and his delegation will also be hosted to a state dinner this evening,meet different groups and address the media.
Bashir last visited uganda at the swearing in of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.