We will not be deterred - ICC prosecutor

By Carol Natukunda

President Yoweri Museveni has particularly referred to the ICC as "a useless tool"

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Despite stiff criticism from some countries, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said her court will not be deterred from investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"Any country can say what they want. But this will not deter us. We will continue to do our work as required in the Rome Statute," Bensouda told journalists over the weekend.

Her remarks come in the wake of threats by the US administration that they would not offer any assistance to the ICC which is preparing to investigate America for alleged abuses in Afghanistan.

Some African leaders have also previously been critical of the Hague-based court over what they described as selective prosecution. President Yoweri Museveni has particularly referred to the ICC as "a useless tool".

However, Bensouda stated: "For us, we shall continue to do our work with utmost resolve. This will not deter the work of the ICC and this will continue independently."

Bensouda further clarified that they had not yet made a decision on whether to prosecute the 2016 clashes in Kasese district that left over 100 people dead.

"We are still analysing this case. ICC is not a case of first instance. It is a court of last resort. We do not compete with national courts. We compliment," she said.

ominic ngwen is currently on trial at the  in he ague  hotoDominic Ongwen is currently on trial at the ICC in The Hague. AFP Photo


She also dismissed reports that the court was siding with the government forces in the ongoing trial of Dominic Ongwen.

A former commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Ongwen faces 70 charges of war crimes and human rights abuses, including torture, murder, mutilation, abduction and sexual slavery.

"Our case is based on the evidence we have. I do not understand how anyone can say we are standing with UPDF," said Bensouda.

In an earlier press conference, Ongwen's lead counsel Krispus Ayena Odongo stated that the ICC was being used to protect the army.

"It takes two to tangle. LRA fought with UPDF. But they (UPDF) have not been brought to this court," Ayena said.