High Court postpones hearing of president Bashir arrest case

President Museveni with Bashir during a tour of the Kisozi farm in Gomba district yesterday. Courtesy photo.

KAMPALA–The International Crimes Division of the High Court sitting in Kampala on Wednesday declined to issue a provisional Warrant of Arrest for Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir who has just been in the country for a two-day state visit.

Presided over by Justice Moses Mukiibi, the court dismissed a request by Uganda Victims Association, a civil society organization through their lawyer Nicholas Opiyo who had petitioned court seeking an arrest warrant of the Sudanese leader wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Justice Mukiibi dismissed this request on grounds that there is currently no fresh warrant of arrest on Bashir that Uganda has disobeyed.

Uganda as a signatory to the Rome Statute, they said, should have apprehended Bashir upon arrival in the country. The Sudanese President was hosted by President Museveni at his country home in Rwakitira.

The hearing of the application did not commence today as Principle State Attorney Elisha Bafirawala and State Attorney Gerald Batanda — the representatives of the respondents — asked for a two weeks adjournment to enable them study the file.

Bafirawala said she had just been served Wednesday morning. The judge advised that since there is no new fresh arrest warrant on president Bashir; it’s not an urgent matter and thus adjourned the case to December 12, 2017 for hearing.

In this application, the civil society organization wants court to issue a standing warrant of arrest against Bashir to be effected whenever he visits Uganda since he is wanted by ICC to answer for the crimes he committed.

The Ugandan government was on the spot in May last year over failure to arrest Bashir who had jetted in the country to attend the swearing in ceremony of President Museveni.




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