What is Moreno-Ocampo playing at?

I have a new job (full details of this to be disclosed in due course), which means I’m now back following Sudan once again. Plus Congo and Uganda. Can’t get away from Africa, I guess.

Yesterday, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor with the International Criminal Court (ICC) dropped in on Uganda, quite out of the blue.

One suspects it wasn’t purely a courtesy visit.

Quite who he met or what he was doing there remains a mystery, thanks to the inherent opaqueness of the ICC. But two things stand out.

One is that Joseph Kony, head of the diabolic Lords Resistance Army (LRA), is still wanted by the ICC for war crimes. He’s believed to be hiding in Congo somewhere, and as soon as the Congolese track him down he’ll probably be arrested.

The second thing of note is that, at the end of this month, President Omar Bashir was planning to visit Uganda, at the invitation of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. An interesting invitation, given past hostilities between Khartoum and Kampala – with the Ugandan government funding southern rebels and Khartoum, in retaliation, sponsoring the LRA rebellion.

Like a great deal of what Moreno-Ocampo has done since taking office, his whole game plan seems a little poorly thought-out. If, as I suspect, he wanted to put pressure on the Ugandan government to arrest Bashir when he sets foot on the country – since Ugandan are signatories to the ICC, whilst Sudan is not, this is really what they should do – then he could have found a subtler way of getting his message across.

Everyone in Uganda, I hear, is now talking about the possibility that Bashir could be arrested if he comes to Uganda – and some senior government officials even seem to be making overtures in this direction. Ergo, Bashir is not going to come to Uganda. The man may be crazy. But he’s not stupid.


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