JANUARY 25, 2010: ICC President Visits Country

ICC President Visits Country
SOURCE: New Vision
By Anne Mugisa and Taddeo Bwambale

Kampala — THE president of the state parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Christian Wenaweser, is in Uganda to discuss the preparations for the review conference due in May.

The partner states will review some of the Rome Statute provisions, which established the court, to define crimes like aggression and genocide and enable the court handle those implicated.

According to the ICC spokesperson in Uganda, Maria Kamara, the conference will also be a stock-taking exercise on the impact of the international justice system on the affected communities.

Wenaweser met President Yoweri Museveni as well as ministers and officials of foreign affairs and justice.

He said a delegation of the ICC will also visit northern Uganda as part of activities to sensitise the communities about the court's justice system.

He told the Attorney General, Khiddu Makubuya, that the ICC is misunderstood and that they want to promote understanding of the court and its functions.

He commended Uganda for the ICC Bill which, according to Makubuya, will be passed into law when Parliament resumes next month.

The Bill is supposed to domesticate the ICC in Uganda and operationalise the newly created war crimes court. The law will be used to try suspected war criminals. Uganda has offered to try LRA leader Joseph Kony and his henchmen, indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The sensitisation activities, organised by the Human Rights Network, the ICC and a US-based NGO, No Peace without Justice, will bring together representatives from countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute.

"This is an opportunity to engage the public, academia, states delegates and the civil society with the International Criminal Court. It will help us clarify perceptions, concerns and needs in regard to human rights and the work of the ICC," said Muhammed Ndifuna, coordinator of the Human Rights Network, at a press conference yesterday.

The opinions expressed by the stakeholders will be discussed during the review conference, he added.

Niam Gibbons of No Peace without Justice said the delegation will meet the local population and victims in Gulu, Kitgum and Lira.