The UPDF Commander of land forces Lt Gen. Peter Elwelu has said the decisions he took during the UPDF attack on Rwenzururu Kingdom in 2016 brought peace to Kasese.
Lt Gen. Elwelu made the remarks during an interaction with journalists immediately after swearing in as an MP representing the army in the 11th parliament.
Elweru said those who died in the attack were criminals who deserved death and Kasese is now peaceful.
Lt Gen. Elwelu was responding to a question about his role in the 2016 UPDF attack on the Rwenzururu Kingdom palace which left more than 100 people dead. Elweru commanded the attack. The matter was later taken to the Hague-based International Criminal Court by the opposition but the complaint was thrown out.
“Uganda is peaceful because of my actions. Kasese is peaceful because of my judgement” Elwelu said responding to a question about his tainted image following the deaths.
“The ICC set me free, what are you talking about. Those were criminals and they deserved death. Kasese is peaceful because of my judgement,” he added.
Asked about the sanctions that were slapped on him by the United States of America in the aftermath of the attack, Elwelu said he is not bothered about the sanctions because his country is Uganda not the US.
He said he doesn’t know about the sanctions nor is he bothered about the same.
“I don’t know understand what it (sanctions) means. I don’t know what it means and I don’t know America; I only know Uganda. If they have something called sanctions, to hell with them. I don’t need them” Lt. Gen Elwelu said.
“I was born here, I will die here, and I will be buried here. What is US?” he added.
Elwelu said he is ready to serve in parliament and he will mainly concentrate on representing national interests.
When asked about the plans by the opposition to remove army representation to parliament in the constitution, Elwelu said the parliamentarians behind the amendment just hate the army because the army’s presence in parliament does not stop the house from carrying out it’s duties.
“It’s just hatred. We are here because of our history and we shall always be here” he said.
The complaints by FDC and ICC’s response:
The Kasese killings were sparked off on 26 November 2016 when security personnel raided Rwenzururu kingdom offices, killing eight royal guards and arresting two others.
Government had accused the guards of attacking police posts and killing policemen.
In the ensuing violence, at least 87 royal guards and an undisclosed number of civilians including women and children lost their lives. The Omusinga of Rwenzururu, Charles Mumbere, was also arrested and charged with murder.
Opposition politicians working with the civil society and human rights activists later pressed ICC to charge the so called perpetrators of the crimes including President Museveni and Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, who commanded the operation.
However, the ICC after investigations, ruled out pressing on with the charges.
According to sections of the draft report released from the office of the ICC prosecutor in 2020, the ICC noted that since the royal guards were armed, the security forces where right to handle the matter in the way they did. The ICC also noted that at least 14 constables were killed after various police posts were attacked by the royal guards.
However, the ICC agreed that the operation was carried out in an indiscriminate and disproportionate manner which led to the deaths of many innocent civilians.
“The office notes that there were incidents of violence, including violent clashes between the Uganda security forces and militants groups…in the absence of the required intensity and organization, the office has noted that the alleged acts could not be appropriately considered within the framework of article 8 of the statute…the alleged conduct also did not satisfy the contextual elements of the crime of genocide under article 6 of the statute,” the report notes in part.
Up to today, the Renzururu King Omusinga Wesley Mumbere’s movements remain restricted within Kampala and Wakiso and prohibited to return to his kingdom.