Do you know about 2012 lawsuit against an American activist by a Ugandan organization?
Do you know that the Ugandan Organization may actually win this case?
Do you know what that win would mean to the Ugandan Organization, and what that would do to guarantee fundamental freedoms of Ugandans?
The year was 2012 and a lawsuit was filed against an American activist, author, attorney, and a former independent candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. He is also the president of Abiding Truth Ministries, a Christian organization based in Temecula, California and the state director of the California branch of the American Family Association as well as the spokesman for the Oregon Citizens Alliance.
The lawsuit against him is about his work with other Ugandan societal leaders to deprive Ugandans of their fundamental rights; a crime against humanity in the international law. On August 14, 2013, an American federal judge ruled that this precedent case against him could proceed before court. In the lawsuit it is alleged that this man’s actions over the past decade, in collaboration with some Uganda government and religious leaders, are responsible for persecution of people in Uganda.
The above decision allowed the case to proceed to the discovery stage. “Discovery,” in U.S. law, is the phase where the parties exchange their evidence, including documents and testimony through depositions, in which witnesses are questioned by the other party’s lawyers outside of court. This meant that this man’s colleagues in Uganda (Ugandan government officials and Ugandan religious leaders) were to be served with court orders.
This gentleman asked the court to dismiss the case but the U.S. District Court judge declined and denied it, and affirmed that the kind of the persecution him and his colleagues were advocating for was a crime against humanity. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs were on solid ground under international and federal law and that First Amendment arguments were “premature.”
This didn’t stop the defense from coming back in December 2014 with another petition to dismiss the case that the First Circuit Court of Appeals had duly rejected.
Earlier this month, a number of expert reports were submitted in conjunction with this lawsuit. These confirmed what life is like for the Ugandans suing and the dangers they face that impact their health and everyday well-being. These reports “paint a clear picture of just how dangerous and harmful the politics of intolerance and exclusion are and why international law treats persecution as one of the world’s most serious crimes.”
Also there were independent experts used in the U.S. litigation to provide a specialized level of knowledge or expertise on subjects relevant to the case namely;
- Dr. Jennifer Leaning, a public health expert and current Director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, who analyzed the situation of the community in Uganda affected by the gentleman’s conduct, using the United Nations’ Framework Analysis for Atrocity Crimes and found indications revealing that there are ongoing atrocity crimes against this particular community that, when combined with potential triggering events, could unleash even more widespread and severe violations and violence and an alarming number of indicators for genocide are also present in Uganda.
- Leading expert on international criminal law Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni that explains “crimes against humanity,” which include persecution, constitute a well-established category of international crimes. He looks at the law and concludes that the crime against humanity of persecution – including persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – is a crime under international law.
So do you know about this case where an American group called the Center for Constitutional Rights, representing a Ugandan group called Sexual Minorities Uganda sued Scott Douglas Lively?