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Former UN President Kutesa says ICC is incompetent

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa has refuted claims that while sitting in Ethiopia this week, the heads of African states under their umbrella body, the African Union (AU) resolved to quit United Nations International Criminal Court (ICC) en masse.

While addressing media Friday morning at the Uganda Media Center, Kutesa, the former President of the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) said there wasn’t any such resolution, though he admitted there were plans by African countries to pull out.

“With ICC, you join willing and you can pull out at any time of wish,” he said adding that countries are free to pull out. “We discussed about it but we never resolved to all pull out at once. We can pull out one by one.”

On why they are mooting plans to pull out, he said whereas they condemn impunity against Africans, they are pulling out because ICC ‘is a discriminatory court’.

He also said that despite the heavy funding, the ICC had failed to finalise more than four cases.

“I saw this for myself while I was president of the UN General Assembly,” Kutesa said adding that plans are underway by AU to start a court, the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, that will be trying similar cases like ICC.

“Once such a court is in place, we (Uganda) will be the first subscribers to it…..” This would be followed with the pulling out of ICC, he added.

Asked about government’s submitting Justice Solome Balungi Bossa as its candidate for the post of judge of ICC which Uganda doesnt believe in, Kutesa said: “there is no contradiction at all. We are still members at ICC. We haven’t pulled thus we are entitled to send any person of our choice to ICC”.

Justice Bossa is competing with two judges from Lesotho and Benin, and elections for the post will be held in December 2017.

Meanwhile, speaking out on the just concluded AU elections in which Kenyan foreign minister Ambassador Amina Mohammed was one of the candidates, Kutesa denied reports that Uganda had not voted for the Kenyan candidate.

He dismissed the claims as ‘not only baseless but also annoying’. “I personally was in Addis Ababa campaigning for Amina before elections. How then can she say we didn’t vote for her? Anyway, if we were not going to vote for her, we would have told her. It’s not a crime and it’s not a must for us to vote for her. It’s our choice but just to clear the claims, we voted for her.”

However, a high level diplomat in South Sudan, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed on Tuesday that neighbouring Kenya could not get full support it requires from the leadership of the country to win the African Union chair due to difference between the team members.

He added that Burundi, Uganda, Djibouti, and Sudan voted against Kenya.

According to a South Sudanese diplomat, Juba also joined the East African countries that broke their pledges and supported the Chadian foreign minister of the central region at the expense of the candidate eastern region.

Amina lost by only three votes (28-25) with one abstention.




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