By EVELYN KWAMBOKA
The Africa Human Rights Bureau has claimed the Migingo dispute is a revenge mission by Uganda as a result of the disputed 2007 elections that saw rowdy youths uproot the Kenya-Uganda railway line in Nairobi’s Kibera. [FILE]
The International Criminal Court has received a petition filed against the Ugandan government by Kenyan fishermen living on Migingo Island.
ICC’s prosecution office is currently analysing the seriousness of the information contained in the formal document prepared by hundreds of fishermen through the Africa Human Rights Bureau (AHRB).
The fishing community operating on Migingo and Ugingo islands have alleged arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, punitive taxation and confinement of their equipment.
Spokeswoman for the ICC prosecutor’s office, Florence Olara, said the complaint is dated August 15, 2013.
“The Office of the Prosecutor confirms receipt of information alleging crimes on Migingo Island. The office will analyse the information as it does with all such communications under Article 15 of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC, and will make a decision in due course,” she said.
This would add work to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s desk if the analysis concludes that there is reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.
In carrying out the analysis, the law requires that the prosecutor seeks additional information from States, organs of the UN, inter-government or non-government organisations or other reliable sources.
Bensouda’s office will submit to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorisation of an investigation together with any supporting material collected, if she concludes that there is reasonable basis for the probe.
It is the Pre-Trial Chamber that would authorise commencement of investigations on examination of the prosecutor’s request and supporting material.
Disputed 2007 polls
However, Article 15(5) provides that if the Pre-Trial Chamber declines to authorise investigations, it shall not prevent the presentation of a subsequent request by the prosecution based on new facts regarding the same Migingo issue.
In the petition signed by AHRB Executive Director Dan Alila, the Ugandan government through its security forces invaded the islands in 2008 and has been targeting one community.
AHRB claims the attack was the result of the disputed 2007 elections that saw rowdy youths uproot the Kenya-Uganda railway line in Nairobi’s Kibera.