Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir is on a two-day state visit to Uganda in defiance of international warrants of arrest against him issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 and 2010.
Bashir is on the court’s wanted list and faces accusations of masterminding genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur from 2003 to 2008.
US, European and Canadian representatives at the inauguration walked out in protest over the presence of al-Bashir and comments made against the ICC by Museveni, the US State Department announced on Thursday.
As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda has an absolute obligation to surrender him to the ICC. Failure to do so would be a breach of its duty.
President Yoweri Museveni is reported to have made derogatory comments about the ICC during the introduction of the Sudanese president, causing the protest by some officials.
Museveni after introducing ICC indictee Bashir: ICC is useless. We'd supported them but we realised ICC is a bunch of useless ppl #M7SwearIn— NBS Television (@nbstv) May 12, 2016
Rights groups have called on Uganda to arrest the president immediately and send him to the ICC.
“Uganda must face up to its international obligations and arrest Omar al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of genocide,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, a regional director at Amnesty International.
“As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda has an absolute obligation to surrender him to the ICC. Failure to do so would be a breach of its duty,” she added.
The president is in Kampala to attend the inauguration of president Yoweri Museveni as well as discuss bilateral ties with Museveni.
Bashir has defied the ICC on previous a occasion by travelling to South Africa in June last year amid diplomatic outcry, but was forced to flee the country after a court ruled he should be banned from leaving.