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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Should Idi Amin be allowed back to Uganda?
Idi Amin
Relatives of Idi Amin, who was once known as the "Butcher of Uganda", want him to return to the country.

The younger brother of the 76-year-old ex-dictator says that Amin has the right to spend his last years in his hometown and to be buried at the plot reserved for him by his family.

But many in Uganda are appalled by this idea. During Idi Amin's rule, tens of thousands met with cruel deaths. Some were crushed alive by tanks, others disembowelled. Amin's relatives say that there is no evidence to link him with these atrocities.

Since his overthrow in 1979, Idi Amin has been living quietly in Saudi Arabia.

Do you think Idi Amin can be allowed to return to Uganda? Or should he be made legally responsible for the deaths of his fellow Ugandians?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

He should have faced international criminal investigation

Sue Hart, Canada
If we could be guaranteed that the Ugandan government and judicial system would prosecute him for his crimes then it might make sense for him to return, otherwise no way. He should have faced international criminal investigation and been tried in The Hague many years ago.
Sue Hart, Canada

Please allow Idi Amin to return to Uganda so that he can be committed to court to answer charges of crimes against humanity.
Kuntz, Malawi

As a Ugandan living abroad, and one who was personally affected by the Amin era and his henchmen I really think that a time comes when you have to forgive someone's past wrongdoings. If he is to return, then we should have a hearing on the same lines as the South African truth commission. Punishing a dying old man will not bring back any of the people we lost. It will lead to more pain which will sow more seeds for revenge. We have to forgive and move on. Other Ugandan leaders have also committed atrocities. The only way we can stop leaders abusing their people is by strengthening democracy in our country and giving up the politics of self-interest.

What a shame, after all his atrocities he had a chance to leave a peaceful life in exile. Idi Amin and his family should have seen their day in court decades ago.
Tamrat, Washington, USA

As an African I think Amin have suffered enough by being out of the home. Therefore I don't see why he should not be allowed to come back, we should learn how to forgive and reconcile. Welcome Idi back to Africa
Awuor K., Kenya, East Timor

I think that Idi Amin should be allowed back into Uganda to live peacefully in the country - so long as he returns all the foreign currency that he stole from the Ugandan Treasury

Norman, Lancaster, England
Idi Amin was not the problem in Uganda - it was his British-born Private Secretary/Political Advisor who welded all the power in Uganda and it was HE who 'sanctioned' all the atrocities. I think that Idi Amin should be allowed back into Uganda to live peacefully in the country - so long as he returns all the foreign currency that he stole from the Ugandan Treasury.
Norman, Lancaster, England

Amin should be allowed to come back to Uganda on condition that he will quit politics, and if he committed any crime, the arm of law should take its course of action.
Wakiniagi, Uganda

Idi Amin should never be left to get away from justice. He should be extradited from Saudi Arabia and tried in Uganda irrespective of his age and circumstances. Nazi war criminals are still being hunted today and in my opinion Amin should be brought to book under all circumstances. Being a Ugandan I am aware how much that monster did to tarnish the name of our country.
James Akabwai, UK

Amin should be allowed to return to Uganda. It is true that he committed atrocities but he is still a Ugandan and has the right to live in his country of origin. Let him return and stand a fair trial before the courts, and prove his innocence. We all know how much havoc was leashed in the Luweero Triangle and yet many of such are now in the ruling class. We should learn to forgive too.
A. Andima, Germany

He should be allowed to come and face the law and be made to face hardship and injustices that he meted out to innocent citizens of Uganda
Richard Mensah, Ghana

Even if Idi Amin were offered the chance to return, I very much doubt he would take it. He ran like a coward the first time for a very good reason; he has too many enemies and he knows it.
Gordon, UK

Forgetting Idi Amin's wrong doing means just erasing the word "Dictator" from the dictionary
Nebyeleul Zegeye, Ethiopia/USA

Idi Amin is one of those who introduced evil in Africa

Augustus, USA
Idi Amin is one of those who introduced evil in Africa and today it has covered the whole of Africa. And so, I would appreciate if Amin is allowed to return to Uganda and pay for what he did to the people of Uganda. In the first place people like that should not be allowed entry in any country in the world. Let him come back home to see and feel the pain he caused to the people of Uganda. I also feel that coming back home to see what did to the people of Uganda is one of the best punishments for people like him.
Augustus, USA

Idi Amin should be tried in the world court for crime he committed against humanity. His coming back home should be to be arrested at the airport and post him to world court.
Kunle Olaiwola, Singapore

Idi Amin should be allowed to step in Uganda to face charges and be jailed for life; he was a foolish president clueless of what leadership and presidency entails.
Jeremiah Kiamba, USA

As a Ugandan, I personally think Idi Amin should be allowed to return to Uganda on condition that he accepts to stand trial for the crimes he committed and encouraged during his reign. This would also send out a strong message to all the various leaders past and present(including Obote and Museveni) nobody is above the law, that no matter how much time passes they shall eventually be held accountable for there actions.
Walumbe, Uganda

There are millions of bitter people out there who lost their loved ones who would want him to stand trial

Mukisa Kizito, Uganda
I don't think the "Butcher of Uganda" should return back to Uganda but rather he should be taken to the Hague to answer for the brutality he inflicted on the people. But again if he were returned I know for certain he wouldn't survive for a year. There are millions of bitter people out there who lost their loved ones who would want him to stand trial.
Mukisa Kizito, Uganda

This is just another example of how international justice (through the UN) is reserved for predominantly European concerns, whereas African concerns, where there is no vested Western interest (oil, etc), are forgotten. I just find it incredulous that he does not have to defend his deeds to anyone and continues to live the life of luxury. If the international community does not have the impetus, he should be allowed home where local justice will surely prevail.
Anthony, UK (Australian)

Idi Amin despite his faults as a politician and diplomat was an African leader who stood up to the colonial mentality at that time and which still persists to this day. He has taken blame for much that was really propaganda and finding a scapegoat much like Saddam today by Western/Israeli interests. He should be treated as an ex-leader, like Clinton or Nixon or others who haven't really the most clear records either.
Ashraf, Uganda

The International Criminal Court(ICC) to try criminals against humanity will be signed soon. Idi Amin should be one of the first to face and answer for the crimes he committed during his reign of terror in Uganda.
William Asaba, Sweden

There are many other dictators roaming in Africa under protection. The best thing is to put this man in a plane and let him land in the Hague. We can't really trust our African judicial systems and we can't trust the Ugandan judicial system. There are many issues at stake here, including trying to please Amin's tribesmen, we are not ready for that.
Macharia Weru, France

How long shall we take to learn the spirit of reconciliation?

Nimule, Uganda

Not only Amin, but all ex-presidents of Uganda should be given amnesty to return home. Idi Amin and Milton Obote are sons of Uganda who have historically contributed to the nation in various ways. Anyone with evidence against any of them should take them to the law courts. How long shall we take to learn the spirit of reconciliation? As you can see in the world an eye for an eye isn't working in the Middle East.
Nimule, Uganda

Not a good idea. The climate in Uganda is not as stable as many people might think, and is worsening as corruption is visibly increasing. Allowing Amin back would only make the climate more volatile.
Hamish, Uganda

Very little that happens in Africa today makes much sense to the rest of the world. Zimbabwe being a prime example. That said, allowing Amin to return doesn't seem that far from the African norm.
Jerry Wampole, USA

To Herrick Ochom: Paid his price?! He slaughtered thousands and all that happened to him was luxurious exile in Saudi. I can only presume you don't value Ugandan lives very highly.
Will Salomone, UK/France

Indeed this man should be allowed to return to his birth roots. I think he has paid his price and the idea of court should be ruled out. Those persons interested in seeing this man in court should note that Uganda has no funds to spend or waste. I do not see the interest anyway.
Herrick Ochom, UK/France

Absolutely, he should be allowed to return to his homeland, just because he didn't agree with the the US government, doesn't mean he can't return.
Famo, Canada

Someone must be held accountable for the crimes committed during Idi Amin's regime

A fellow African, USA
There is no smoke without fire. Someone must be held accountable for the crimes committed during Idi Amin's regime. Therefore, Idi Amin must be made to stand trial for those crimes. I am surprised that the Ugandan government has not made any attempts to extradite him from Saudi Arabia.
A fellow African, USA

He sould be sent back to the authorities in Uganda and let them decied what to do with him.
Thomas, Nigeria

The western press really did a number on him. I guess he should return home and be given an opportunity to present his side of the story.
James Hardwood, Nigeria/USA

Why would Idi Amin, as cruel as he was, would be someone to be considered to come back home? We have so many African heroes in exile who are not allowed to enter their respective countries. Can anyone tell one single good thing that Amin has done for his country. Moreover, in Africa we have so many problems to solve. We should think how we can help our people. Idi Amin and his kinds are not supposed to be an issue. Let them live where they are. They are good-for-nothing.
Saba, USA

Why not? Idi Amin should be allowed to return home in Uganda to stand trial for his past crimes.
Kennet Korayi, Britain

To Jennifer Ethington and other like minds: It is unfortunate that many of you have never experienced first hand how Africans take charge of their own problems such as the recent election in Zimbabwe that was declared free, fair and legitimate by Obasanjo and Mbeki despite gross irregularities, intimidation and killing that was associated with that election. Idi Amin and other African detectors like Babangida, Mugabe etc should be sent to the Hague for destroying the African continent
Emma Osegbue, Nigeria/South Africa

Shouldn't you be asking the people of Uganda this question? Let Africans take charge of their own affairs!
Jennifer Ethington, USA

For me Amin is no better than the likes of Slobo, Sadam, Pol Pot and of course Bin Laden

Salem Barry, USA
It's a shame that the Saudis are providing sanctuary for this evil man and the fact that the international community did not show any interest in bringing him to justice. For me Amin is no better than the likes of Slobo, Sadam, Pol Pot and of course Bin Laden.
Salem Barry, USA

Where Idi Amin lives is really none of our business. Except that if Amin returns to his homeland, it's quite likely that Bush and Blair will eventually produce a convoluted excuse to stick Uganda on their hit list.
Chris B, England

I say he shouldn't be allowed to come back to Uganda, unless he is coming back to face trial for the suffering and death he brought upon the Ugandan people during his reign of terror. He shouldn't even have a proper burial, there were many Ugandans who didn't have the privilege of having a proper burial- their bodies were burnt or given to wild animals. Allowing him to even step his foot in any African soil means betraying those who perished under his rule.
Wolde, Ethiopia

To the family of Amin that claim that he has a right to return to Uganda, I say, thousands of his innocent victims had a right to live too! This blood thirsty monster has no place in Uganda. What a horrible insult to the victims' families to even suggest that Amin has a right. And his son who claims that his father is innocent and that there is no evidence to prove his guilt....well, I nominate him for JOKER OF THE YEAR!
Nebro, Ethiopia

No one seriously entertains this concept aside from his relatives and friends, do they?? I mean seriously, no one without something to gain, right? It's an absurd suggestion.
Bob Beecroft, Australia

He needs to face justice not retirement

Richard Byamugisha, Ugandan American
Why is it that Amin should not face the international court? Is it because Ugandans are not human beings? He needs to face justice not retirement.
Richard Byamugisha, Ugandan American

I am surprised to hear that he is living quite happily in Saudi! Who in their right minds would harbour such a thug. Perhaps he should return to Uganda so the people of that country can pass judgement on his deeds.
Frank Bridge, UK

No, no, no to Amin's return to Uganda. To allow him back is an unforgivable insult to Uganda and the people whose relatives were butchered during Amin's regime.
Oyet Lokilacong, Portland Maine ( USA)

Yes, let him return to Uganda. As soon as he steps off the plane he should be arrested and tried for mass murder, illegal expulsions of Asians and corruption. The weight of evidence against him is huge and he should be incarcerated for the rest of his days. This would heal a deep wound in Uganda and show the rest of the world's tyrants that they will eventually face justice. Anything less is a kick in the teeth for the relatives of his thousands of victims.
John G, London,UK

I think it okay for him to spend the rest of his life in his home country.
Kamal Mohamed, USA

To hear someone say that 'he has done nothing wrong' really annoys me and reminds me that we have short memories

Tony Umweni, UK
Do we have such short memories? This man ought to be tried for his crimes. It is only the lack of conviction and the lack of willingness to spend the money to do it, that allows him to remain free. To hear someone say that 'he has done nothing wrong' really annoys me and reminds me that we have short memories. There are people out there that say now that the Holocaust never happened - I am sure that there are people who will say that Amin was great humanitarian.
Tony Umweni, UK

Amin is a Ugandan, he has every right to return. He should be allowed to return and if he has case to answer to the people of Uganda, then let him answer.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver, Canada

He should never be allowed back to Uganda, and should have stood trial years ago in the country which still harbours him, and which has never been asked questions as to why they did give him shelter - Saudi Arabia.
Noel Evans, England

All dictators should be returned to the 'state' of their crimes. And appear in a court of law to answer for their crimes. Should Amin be found guilty of the alleged crimes, he should be sentenced. Should Amin, Pinochet, or even Castro pay for their crimes, maybe there wouldn't be any.... Uganda, DR Congo, etc. would be better places in the future.
John G. O'Connell III, United States of America

To the best of my knowledge, there is no international warrant for his arrest; until then, he is free to return to his country if he wishes. It is his right. That said, I see double dealing at the Hague with respect to Idi Amin.
Aatabong, Cameroon

The past is the past. So many years have gone by. It's time to let bygones be bygones.
Anonymous, Living in Spain

He should be allowed to return to Uganda, but should be tried for the alleged offences.
Sylvanus Efidi, Nigeria

Amin could still cause problems in Uganda

Bernie, London, UK
I lived in Kampala, the capital of that beautiful country, for over a year. I couldn't understand why there was so little hatred towards someone who the West viewed as an evil dictator. It seems certain that Obote was responsible for more atrocities, when he succeeded Amin, than Amin himself, but that doesn't explain it. Amin could still cause problems in Uganda. Amin is from the North West of the country, a poor and unstable area. This is where the West Nile Bank Front operate. This is also close to the operating areas of Joseph Koni's Lord Resistance Army and the Allied Democratic Forces and the Interahamwe over the Zaire border to name just a few terrorist organisations. However it is not up to us as to whether Amin returns to Uganda. That is up to the Ugandan people. I just hope that if he does return, he will face the full wrath of the law and the Ugandan people.
Bernie, London, UK

The issue today is to see where Uganda is coming from and where it is going. Amin is not the first and the last dictator, therefore we need to introduce the culture of responsibility among African leadership. Let him come back and face the long arm of the law. It would be a lesson for the African leaders of today and tomorrow. The culture of impunity should be done away with.
Musema, USA

Its time to test the developments in democracy in Uganda. Let him return and the full arm of the law take effect. He should be allowed a chance to come clean (if he can). He may serve as a lesson to future leaders in Africa
Yafeesi, USA

He should be allowed back to Uganda and then appear to court of Law. This will enable him to answer the charges he is alleged to have committed. As a result he can make himself clean.
Isaac, Britain

Yes he should be allowed in. For one reason and one alone - to be tried for crimes against humanity

Hajj, USA
Yes he should be allowed in. For one reason and one alone - to be tried for crimes against humanity. I would also be interested to hear from him about his backers - the Saudis and Libyans.
Hajj, USA

It is not for anyone but the Ugandans to decide. That said, I would be very surprised if they did let him return.
Stephen, UK

Why not, it's his neck.
Andrew Cover, UK

I don't think it will be a good idea to allow Amin to return to Uganda. He created sufferings for the people of Uganda, he gave order to his solders to kill those who opposed him. His brother probably was in hiding when Amin was killing the Ugandians. Even after his death, he should not be allowed to be buried in Uganda.
l.Karvon, USA, California

No way! Idi should just wait for his death in exile. What he did to the sons and daughters of Uganda can not be erased by time.
Kalembeni G Katabe, USA

If Pinochet can be allowed to return to his homeland why not Idid Amin?

Anonymous, Liberian (living in USA)
If Pinochet can be allowed to return to his homeland why not Idid Amin? In the first place, we all tend to blame Amin today but people fail to realize that it is a burdensome task to lead Africans. Amin might be clear of those charges that people are claiming against him!
Anonymous, Liberian (living in USA)

Let Idi return to the Hague for a war crimes trial.
Sam, Texas, USA

There is one thing we must not misunderstand in this issue. It is ok to be humane and allow Amin back into Uganda. However, I will stand strongly against his return because it would give potential dictators the impetus to commit atrocities, knowing that one day, they too, like Amin, will be allowed to come back home.
Divine, Scotland

NO, no, no to this return. He was brutal to his people like most dictators in Africa and should not be allowed within one inch of Uganda's borders. I think his family should be ashamed of themselves for asking the Ugandans to relive such horror memories.
Karen, USA

Idi Amin should be back in Uganda and face his people before he faces his creator. African leaders must be made to know that one can not commit such crimes and get away with it.
Seyoum Berhe, USA

He ought to be in jail for crimes against humanity

Tim Oxborough, USA
He ought to be in jail for crimes against humanity, or do we have double standards when it comes to Africa?
Tim Oxborough, USA

What a shame that after all the known atrocities committed by this brute, his brothers have the gut to seek for his return home. I weep for my motherland 'Africa' where evil triumphs good.
Peter Kingsley, USA

Yes I think it is time for the government of Uganda to allow Idi Amin to return home. People of Uganda have to forget their past and let the dictator back home
Adan Dayib, Somali

It would be the biggest insult to the Ugandan people if this man is let back.

I believe Ugandans need transparencies for the sufferings they experienced

Jimmy , United States
The return of Amin and a trial for war crimes will gave answers to the many question unanswered by Ugandans and the rest of the world for this man's gruesomeness of humanity. I believe Ugandans need transparencies for the sufferings they experienced.
Jimmy , United States

I am surprised that the world community has not requested for his (Idi Amin) extradiction to Hague for trial. I am also surprised that he is allowed to live in Saudi Arabia as a free man-enjoying his life. I now understand why his family has the audacity to plead for his return.
Thaddeus Ezeji, USA

Idi should be tried in The Hague for crimes against humanity, like Slobodan. It will be a shame for Africa and especially for Uganda to have him return to Uganda. I am surprised that none of the western governments has asked Saudi Authorities to extradite Idi to stand trial.
Ravi Patel, Netherlands (Uganda)

Idi Amin should be allowed to return to Uganda. Yes what he did was horrible but the man has to stay somewhere. When he returns to Uganda, the people of Uganda should make sure they arrest him immediately he enters their jurisdiction and try him for his horrible crimes. If he stops in any other country on the continent, they should arrest him too. It is about time that we start holding these despots and dictators accountable for thier actions.

Most of our African leaders seem to think they can get away with abusing our human rights any which way they please. Let them all understand that they will pay for what they have done to us and our children and our parents. It is a shame that Idi Amin is peacefully residing in any country in this international community, because truth be told, he should have been brought to justice wherever he resides. Let him come home. I just hope the Ugandan government does not shame the victims and allow him to go unprosecuted.
K. Carew, Nigeria/Sierra Leone/USA

See also:

10 Apr 02 | Africa
Relatives want Idi Amin home
03 Jan 02 | Africa
Amin's son runs for mayor
22 Sep 01 | Reviews
Showtime for African dictator

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