The government of Uganda has distanced itself from the opinion of Ugandan judge Julia Sebutinde who voted in favor of Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Gaza genocide case.
Sebutinde was among the 17 ICJ judges who determined the cases and she voted against all the emergency measures that the court ordered Israel to take.
In a statement on January 27, the government of Uganda clarified that the position taken by justice Sebutinde on the ruling at the ICJ does not represent its position on the situation in Palestine.
“The Government categorically clarifies that, the position taken by Judge Sebutinde is her own individual and independent opinion, as is the case with all other Judges, in accordance with Article 2 of the ICJ Statute.
“Therefore, her opinion does not in any way, reflect the position of the Government of the Republic of Uganda,” read the statement.
Uganda UN Representative
Earlier on Adonia Ayebare, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations (UN) also disowned the position taken by Sebutinde.
“Justice Sebutinde’s ruling at the ICJ does not represent the government of Uganda’s position on the situation in Palestine. Uganda’s support for the plight of the Palestinians has been expressed through Uganda’s voting pattern at the UN,” he wrote on X.
ICJ voted in favor of six measures that order Israel to protect Palestinians including punishing and preventing acts of genocide and allowing humanitarian aid into the war, but judge Sebutinde voted against all of them.
Sebutinde who has been a judge at the ICJ since 2012 even outdid the Israeli judges who voted in favor of two measures.
Non-Aligned Movement Order
As such, Uganda affirmed its association with the decisions and positions of the recently concluded 19th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), held in Kampala on 19th and 20th January 2024.
NAM condemned the continuing Israeli military campaign against the defenseless Palestinian people, and deplored the killing of over 21,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the period between October and December 2023,
The Movement also criticized the wounding and maiming of over 55,000 Palestinian children, women, and men in bombardments by air, land and sea by the Israeli occupying forces.
Besides, NAM condemned the ongoing attacks by occupying forces and settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, that killed over 300 Palestinians, including 79 children, and wounded more than 3,800 people in the same period, in addition to the killing of 200 other Palestinians in 2023.
It also called for an immediate end to the Israeli military aggression and siege on the Gaza Strip and for immediate, unimpeded, and sufficient humanitarian assistance at scale, to meet the enormous needs of the Palestinian civilian population.
NAM members said this would enable urgently needed reconstruction and recovery, especially of homes and vital infrastructure, including in particular of hospitals, schools and water, sanitation and electricity networks, in accordance with the recent Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on this matter.
“Rejected any individual or mass forcible transfer and deportation of Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including to any other country, which amounts to a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions,” read the statement.
South Africa Files Petition
The ICJ session came after South Africa filed a case in December 2023 accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians.
South Africa called for the ICJ to order an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
Israel launched war on Gaza on October 7 and its air and ground operations have killed more than 26,000 people.