UN, Liechtenstein Says Uganda Would Arrest Sudan's Bashir, Kampala
Says Not So
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, July 16 -- Uganda is a state party to the International
Criminal Court, and a member of the African Union. These two roles
came into conflict this week, when Uganda officials were quoted that
if he visited Uganda for a summit, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
would be arrested on the ICC warrant against him. Then it was
reported that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who referred Ugandan
rebel Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army to the ICC, called
al-Bashir to assure him that Uganda would not enforce the ICC
July 17, Inner
City Press asked the President of the Assembly of State Parties of
the ICC and its Rome Statute, Liechtenstein Ambassador Christian
Wenaweser about Uganda's double message. Wenaweser said that on July
16, he had a long conversation with Uganda's Ambassador who gave
assurances was committed "to its obligations under the Rome
Statute" -- that is, to arrest al Bashir. Since Museveni had
invited al Bashir to Uganda, Inner City Press asked Wenaweser if
this might be a set up. "Ask him the question," Wenaweser
said, referring to Uganda's Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda. Video here,
from Minute 6:42.
luck would have
it, Ambassador Rugunda, July's president of the Security Council,
came to the stakeout an hour after the ICC Justice Day briefing.
Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rugunda to respond to Wenaweser's
characterization of their conversation and his alleged commitment to
live up to Uganda's Rome Statute obligations to arrest. Ruganda noted
that the African Union has set up a committee of former heads of
state, led by South African Thabo Mbeki, and said that Uganda is
waiting for a report from Mr. Mbeki. Ruganda said this should make
his country's position clear.
asked, so if al Bashir visits, he will not be arrested? Ruganda said
his country has invited al Bashir and is a "respectable state"
-- they did not invited al-Bashir to Uganda in order to arrest him.
Video here, from Minute 1:26.
claims Uganda's Ambassador committed to live up to its Rome Statute
obligations to arrest al Bashir, while Uganda's Ambassador himself
said that his country will not arrest al-Bashir. And this on Justice
Yoweri Museveni at UN, Kagame shown, al Bashir not shown
bragged that al-Bashir, since he was indicted by the ICC, has not
visited any state party, leading some to believe that there is a
method to the confusion in the run-up to al-Bashir's scheduled trip
to Uganda, which got canceled. Also, a day after Ban Ki-moon's
spokesperson was asked but did not answer if chief UN peacekeeper
Alain Le Roy met with al-Bashir during his recent trip to Sudan,
Inner City Press asked Le Roy if he had met with al Bashir. He was
out of the country, Le Roy answered, "in Egypt" at the
meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. But would Le Roy have met with
al-Bashir? He shrugged at the hypothetical question.
that the UN's policy is to meet with ICC indictees only if it is
essential. Inner City Press, beyond asking if dinner with indictee
Jean-Bosco Ntanga in Goma is essential, later asked UN spokesperson
Michele Montas if the UN World Food Program met with Al Shabab in
Somalia. Ms. Montas replied that UN agencies meet with whom they have
to, "on the ground," but said to ask WFP about Al Shabab.
The staff of the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee this week told Inner
City Press there is good reason to believe that Al Shabab is
affiliated with Al Qaeda. And so it goes...
* * *
UN, Rapp Raps on Taylor Trial, Dodges on Johnson Sirleaf and Obama
War Crimes Post
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, July 16 -- Already nominated to become President Obama's
Ambassador at Large for War Crimes, Iowan Stephen Rapp came to the UN
on July 16 to cautiously discuss the Charles Taylor trial ongoing at
the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. In a nine-minute
stakeout interview which only Inner City Press attended -- call it an
exclusive -- Rapp and the Court's President Renate Winter took five
questions and answer three and a half. Video here.
asked about the 227 witnesses that Taylor has called for his defense.
Will the prosecution be trying to whittle the list down? Renate
Winter said that will be up to the presiding judge. Rapp noted that
in the case of the interim leader of the RUF, the defense named 330
possible witnesses and ended up calling 59.
asked about the missing and perhaps dead indictee Johnny Paul Koroma.
said that either an internationalized court could be set up within
the judicial system of Sierra Leone -- but then amnesty might apply
-- or that the case could be transferred to other countries which
would have jurisdiction. He said that discussion have begun with two
such countries, which he would not name.
Stephen Rapp at UN on July 16, 2009, 2 countries not shown
press coverage of the trial has revolved around the skulls Taylor
acknowledges authorizing his forces to display at roadblocks, Inner
City Press asked what probative value if any this might have, and if
Rapp thinks the media is focused on the wrong things at the trial.
Rapp said he will not comment on anything under judicial
consideration, but that skulls could constitute a "gruesome
display of human remains" and have some probative value.
it has asked
Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson, the UN envoy to West African Said Djinnet
and Congo envoy Alan Doss, Inner City Press asked Rapp to comment on
the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendation
that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf be barred from public life for
thirty years, in part for providing financial support to Charles
Taylor. Rapp said "what happened in Liberia... is up to
Liberians," and noted that Liberia's parliament must consider
the TRC's recommendations.
that Rapp has
been nominated for his new U.S. job, Inner City Press asked Renate
Winter what provisions are being made to replace him. She said there
will not be a day with out a prosecutor. Rapp added that if he is
confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will begin arranging for a
transition, seeing how much notice he should provide.
is a lawyer's
lawyer, but whether his soft spoken style is best suited for the
Obama Administration's Ambassador at Large for War Crimes, as the
Administration considers joining the International Criminal Court,
remains to be seen. The fact that only one reporter waited to
question him even after the nomination speaks either to lameness
within the UN press corps, or to a perceived lack of news value. Rapp
knows the system, and could well advise a more public face of the
fight against impunity. We'll see.
* * *