Events took a different course after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni slammed the International Criminal Court (ICC) in his inaugural speech, dubbing them “bunch of useless people”.
Museveni’s words quickly pushed out the Western officials who were present in his presidential re-inauguration. Prior to their premature exit, eyebrows were raised at the sight of Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, who has been facing an arrest warrant.
State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told a news briefing in Washington that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni made disparaging remarks about ICC to the audience.
“We believe that walking out in protest is an appropriate reaction to a head of state mocking efforts to ensure accountability for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Trudeau said.
“In response to President Bashir’s presence and President Museveni’s remarks, the United States delegation, along with representatives of the European Union countries and Canada, departed the inauguration ceremonies to demonstrate our objection.”
The US, EU and Canadian diplomats felt embarrassed and had no choice but to leave the ceremony which was held in Kampala, Uganda on Thursday.
However, while Museveni bashed the international organization, Bashir nodded in agreement and leaders from Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe looked on.
Sudanese president, Bashir, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur region.
It is imperative to note that states in theory have an obligation to arrest ICC suspects on their territory, but African leaders are increasingly doubtful of its authority.
Ugandan President Y. Museveni’s Re-election
71-year-old Yoweri Museveni, has governed Uganda for 30 years, he was re-elected to a fifth term as president in February, prompting opposition protests, clashes and dozens of arrests.
The Ugandan leader, who referred to Al-Bashir as his “best neighbour” has been too critical of the Hague-based court in the past. He often accuses the international Court of vehemently kicking against African heads of states.