The interim president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party at Katonga Road, Mr. Erias Lukwago, announced that his party is actively working with other political figures to take the government to international courts, citing severe human rights violations.
Engaging International Courts Over Human Rights Violations
Mr. Lukwago, accompanied by the FDC Katonga faction’s secretary general Harold Kaija, disclosed their intention to explore legal avenues such as the African Court of Peoples’ and Human Rights (ACPHR), the African Commission on Peoples’ and Human Rights (ACPHR), the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), and the International Criminal Court (ICC). He emphasized that they are in discussions with political allies to address the issue collectively. Mr. Lukwago stated, “Human rights have no color, political boundary, or ethical background; they are universal. We are collaborating with colleagues to build synergies and determine how to proceed.”
Challenges in Investigating Rights Violations
This announcement comes amid the Uganda Human Rights Commission’s (UHRC) recent closure of 18 case files involving members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) who were allegedly abducted by state actors. The UHRC cited insufficient evidence for further investigation. Opposition Members of Parliament, led by their leader, Mr. Mathias Mpuuga, responded by boycotting parliamentary sessions, demanding explanations for the missing NUP members. Tensions escalated when Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja clashed with Mr. Mpuuga on the same issue.
Mr. Lukwago expressed support for the Opposition MPs’ actions and urged them not to relent. He stated, “We have joined you in this serious matter. We are facing a time bomb, with numerous cases of state brutality occurring under the UHRC’s watch.” He also called on Ms. Mariam Wangadya, the UHRC boss, to resign and participate in elective politics, accusing her of politicizing human rights.
International Legal Action as a Response
The National Unity Platform (NUP) recently filed complaints against several government officials, including the President, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, with the ICC, alleging gross human rights violations. Mr. Lukwago pointed out that the ICC’s response has been slow, leading them to explore various regional, continental, and international options. He said, “The ICC has been hesitant to take action. The government even attempted to hinder our case by leveraging their role in Somalia, but we presented substantial evidence.”
Criticizing the Judicial System
Mr. Lukwago also criticized the effectiveness of the country’s judicial system. He highlighted the lack of summoning top security officials, such as the Ministers for Security and Defense, and the Inspector General of Police, to court to address human rights charges. He remarked, “The court possesses the authority to summon them, but they have chosen a restrained approach rather than an activist one.”
The FDC Katonga faction’s decision to seek international legal action underscores their commitment to addressing what they perceive as severe human rights violations by the government.