Ambassador Malac. Photo: YouTube
Dear Ambassador Deborah Malac:
We the undersigned citizens of Uganda and friends of Uganda demand that you publicly call for and support an independent investigation into the KASESE MASSACRES by dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s U.S.-trained armed forces.
On November 26 and 27, 2016 dictator Museveni’s armed forces under the guise of suppressing an insurrection by loyalists of the hereditary leader of the Rwenzururu King, Charles Wesley Mumbere, burned down his palace, summarily executed unarmed civilians and paraded women naked on the royal compound. King Mumbere himself –a victim of the military assault– was arrested and remains imprisoned without trial for more than a year.
Absent an independent investigation the true number of victims won’t be known. Human Rights Watch has stated that 55 were killed on November 26 and more than 100, including children, on November 27, 2016. Gen. Museveni later awarded Gen. Peter Elwelu the commander of the brutal assault, with a medal. Museveni also boasted in an interview on Al-Jazeera that he was the one who issued the order.
Ambassador Malac, following Uganda’s sham presidential election in 2016 which was stolen by Gen. Museveni from the main challenger Dr. Kizza Besigye with the aid of his hand-picked election commission, you said that the United States in its relations with Uganda will not sacrifice the demands for democracy in return for “stability.”
The United States is morally and legally obligated to live up to the commitment expressed in those words. Democratic accountability demands that the KASESE MASSACRES be investigated. The United States presents itself to the world as a country that constantly strives to perfect it’s own democracy. Yet, the U.S. trains and arms Gen. Museveni’s armed forces, the instrument of brute power which Museveni has ruthlessly used against Uganda’s citizens to sustain his dictatorship for 32 years.
The massacre of Ugandan citizens, with the use of American taxpayer financed assets contravenes Ugandan, International and American laws. As a scholar who has studied international law at the University of Basel you must know this. As you know the Leahy Amendment bars U.S. military support for regimes that commit atrocities and human rights abuses.
As referenced on a Wikipedia post: “The Leahy Law or Leahy amendment is a U.S. human rights law that prohibits the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign military units that violate human rights with impunity. It is named after its principal sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). To implement this law, U.S. embassies, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and the appropriate regional bureau of the U.S. Department of State vet potential recipients of security assistance. If a unit is found to have been credibly implicated in a serious abuse of human rights, assistance is denied until the host nation government takes effective steps to bring the responsible persons within the unit to justice. While the U.S. Government does not publicly report on foreign armed forces units it has cut off from receiving assistance, press reports have indicated that security force and national defense force units in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Saint Lucia have been denied assistance due to the Leahy Law.”
Madam Ambassador, it’s as clear as daylight that the Leahy law must be applied to the Ugandan armed forces, starting with Gen. Elwelu’s command that was rewarded with a metal for the KASESE MASSACRES. Perhaps Ugandan and sympathetic American lawyers can review the matter. Impunity begets impunity. That’s why Gen. Museveni’s U.S.-trained and financed armed forces has been ruthless in suppressing the TOGIKWATAKO protests in opposition to his proposed desecration of Uganda’s constitution to remove the age-75 ceiling.
Scores of Ugandans have been killed as you know. Ambassador Malac, we implore you not to turn a blind eye to the suffering of Ugandans. All atrocities committed by the U.S.-trained armed forces must be investigated and perpetrators punished. Don’t remain silent and allow a repeat of what happened as when successive U.S. Administrations covered up the December, 1981 El Mozote Massacre of as many as 1,200 peasants in El Salvador by the U.S.-trained military, including the Atlacatl unit. On that occasion, at least a few ambassadors spoke the truth.
The shameful U.S. cover-up later became a subject of Congressional investigation. Don’t let this history repeat itself in Uganda.
You can help do the right thing by supporting an independent investigation of the KASESE MASSACRES as already demanded by Human Rights Watch and other International organizations. The U.S. which provides dictator Museveni’s regime with over $1 billion in annual foreign aid, must stop financing a military that unlawfully kills unarmed citizens.
We URGE you to endorse this demand for an independent investigation into the KASESE MASSACRES.