As Uganda descended into violent protests that swept the capital Kampala and several towns across the country, former opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been compiling the “ongoing atrocities” to present before the International Criminal Court. This week’s protests had, by Thursday, reportedly claimed the lives of 37, shot by security forces.
“We’re still compiling names of more petitioners and will continue gathering and forwarding more evidence, including the ongoing atrocities,” Mr Besigye said on Friday.
On November 11, The Hague-based court acknowledged receipt of Mr Besigye’s compilation of crimes against humanity committed by President Yoweri Museveni’s regime and security forces that are within the mandate of the ICC.
“The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court acknowledges receipt of your documents/letter.
“This communication has been duly entered in the Communications Register of the Office. We will give consideration to this communication, as appropriate, in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” reads the letter, signed by Mark P Dillon, head of information and evidence unit, ICC Office of the Prosecutor.
Mr Dillon however, adds that the acknowledgement does not amount to an investigation being opened into President Museveni’s regime, and that when a decision is reached, the Office of the Prosecutor will inform the petitioners.
Allegations of heinous crimes
The petitioners allege that President Museveni and a number of high ranking security and public officers or “his accomplices” have committed heinous crimes and gross human rights violations categorised as crimes against humanity to the people of Uganda jointly and severally.
For these crimes, Mr Besigye says President Museveni “is liable to be subpoenaed, prosecuted, tried, convicted and punished by the International Criminal Court.”
Since November 2019, the Besigye-led “Peoples Government” has been compiling and submitting information to the ICC to investigate a number of crimes.
Mr Besigye also alleges that Museveni’s “iron fist rule” uses state security and militia groups to persecute and humiliate political opponents.