Shocking Testimony Linking Uganda’s President and Son to Violence- ICC
In harrowing testimony given to the ICC, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba were charged with inciting violence and abusing detractors.
The documents contain in-depth allegations of torture made by opposition leaders and activists who claim they were arbitrarily detained and kept incommunicado in “torture centers” while being questioned about their connections to Bobi Wine, a leading opposition figure, and subjected to physical abuse and inhumane treatment.
The court received the documents on Tuesday in support of a lawsuit Wine filed two years ago about the nation’s contentious 2021 elections, which contain the testimony of 215 people. There have been nine senior Ugandan officials appointed.
Due to his position as the military’s top commander, Museveni, 78, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, was charged, and Kainerugaba, 49, was charged with running alleged torture facilities.
My body and face were broken. A Vine supporter told lawyers, “They asked me, ‘Who are you going to turn against the president? ‘” He also said that he had been beaten, had his teeth pulled out and his fingernails pierced. He claimed that they are hurt by the loud noise.
Because they are still in Uganda and are concerned for their safety, the majority of the individuals involved in the case requested anonymity. Amos Katumba, a friend of Wine and the head of the organization Caring Hearts Uganda, and Ugandan satirist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija have made public statements in addition to Wine.
According to Katumba, even discussing problems like access to healthcare and the high cost of living can put people in danger. “It’s really difficult when you try to raise your voice in Uganda to talk about what is happening every day in our dear country,” she said. “I wasn’t even in politics, which worries me because it means no Ugandan is safe,” he declared.
In a text message to The New York Times, Kainerugaba’s spokesman, Andrew Mwenda, denied the general’s involvement, writing: Were they tortured? YES! Who was the director? We must research this. They have a good reason to accuse the president’s son because it brings attention to their claim.
Faruk Kirunda, Museveni’s deputy press secretary, denied the accusations against him and claimed that the president’s political foes were “peddling false information” at the international tribunal to damage his reputation.
The US attorney in charge of the case, Bruce Afran, stated: “Under the Museveni regime, we have seen a complete loss of civil liberties and respect for human rights in Uganda in recent years. Countless, nearly identical reports of street kidnappings and various forms of egregious and cruel torture are visible.
He said that these kinds of torture are used regularly by the Ugandan government against anyone who is involved in any way with the political opposition, even low-level people. Some of these include putting chemicals in people’s eyes, whipping them with wires, and in some cases, removing their testicles.
Museveni’s primary opponent in the 2021 election was Wine, a singer-turned-politician. Museveni declared victory after unreliable polls.
Wine has asserted time and time again that his campaign has been the target of a systematic government crackdown, which he claims has included “assassination attempts” on his life. Because some Ugandans have long seen it as a symbol of opposition to Museveni’s rule, the wine has repeatedly urged other countries to condition their economic relations with Uganda on meeting particular human rights standards.
In testimony submitted to the court, Katumba, who now resides in the United States after being granted asylum, claimed that in 2018, armed men in civilian clothing confronted him at his home and questioned him about the activities of his NGO.
He claimed that the man claimed to have been in a Facebook video with Wine when she was praising his business. The men, according to Katumba, expressed concern that the group was being used to “win the love of the Ugandan people” and to “channel money from foreign countries to financially secure Uganda’s political future. Bobi Wine.”
The men, according to Katumba, kicked him in the genitalia and imprisoned him upright in a wooden box with protruding nails, preventing him from moving without “tearing…flesh.”
He claimed that after being left standing for ten hours, he was then submerged to his neck in an ice tank. Before being freed, one of the men allegedly advised him to testify against Bobi Wine by presenting evidence that the association was being used to undermine President Museveni’s authority and that Mr. Wine was guilty of treason.
Afran said the court should take up this case because such practices are increasing in Central African countries, especially Uganda, where torture is a common form of government.
Over the past ten years, the ICC has lost some of its sway in Africa as several nations on the continent have threatened to withdraw from it due to what they perceive to be an undue emphasis on prosecuting crimes committed in Africa as opposed to crimes committed elsewhere in the world.
One of the nations threatening to leave the tribunal was Uganda. Before, Museveni called his officers “a bunch of useless people” and showed his disdain for them. Uganda is still a signatory to the Rome Statute, so the court may pursue cases involving crimes against humanity committed there.
The ICC has not yet made up its mind about whether to take the case. Only a small percentage of the cases that are sent to it are heard.