Amnesty International has warned Uganda upon her decision to grant asylum to former Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir.
On Tuesday State minister for Regional Cooperation Henry Okello Oryem, said Kampala was willing to host Bashir in case he applies for asylum in Uganda.
“If he (President Bashir) applies for asylum in Uganda then that is a matter that can be considered by the President of Uganda. President Bashir was a co-guarantor of the peace agreement for South Sudan; he played a very big role for which we have to give him credit. Therefore, if he or his family seeks asylum [in Uganda] then that is something we can consider,” he said.
However, Joan Nyanyuki, the Amnesty International, East Africa Director on Wednesday issued a statement warning countries not to get involved in sabotaging justice for victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, grave cases that Bashir is accused of, by offering him asylum.
According to Nyanyuki, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants for Al-Bashir accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, extermination and rape. He is also accused of committing genocide against the Fur, Massalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups.
“Time has come for Al-Bashir to face justice in the ICC. He has been a wanted man since 2009 when the first arrest warrant was issued against him. I would also caution countries that wish to grant him asylum to get out of the way for justice to prevail,” she added.
Al-Bashir was ousted by defence minister, Lt. Gen. Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf last week. Gen. Ibn Auf later on stepped down after one day following continued protests by thousands of Sudanese who have since camped outside the country’s military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, demanding that a civilian government takes over.
Nyanyuki also urged the government in Khartoum to immediately hand over the former strongman to ICC for due process to be followed since Sudan’s legal system is dysfunctional.
“An ICC trial is not only vital for the victims of the atrocious crimes that led to his indictment but must constitute a first step in ensuring justice and accountability in the country. Sudan must take urgent steps to rebuild its justice sector but, in the meantime, the only way victims of his alleged crimes will see progress towards justice is when Bashir faces a fair trial at the ICC,” said Nyanyuki.