Sexual Minorities Uganda-SMUG on June 5, 2017 received a summary judgment from the US District Court sitting at Springfield-Massachusetts which was presided over by Judge Michael A Ponsor, in which SMUG sued Scott Lively, an American extreme evangelist under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) for his actions of aiding and abetting a vicious and frightening campaign of repression against the LGBTI person in Uganda in between 2002-2009 that led to the introduction of the impugned Anti-homosexual Act 2014.
SMUG received the judgment with utmost shock and contempt when the judge ruled the case of out of jurisdiction. The judgment reads in part,“Anyone reading this memorandum should make no mistake. The question before the Court is not whether Defendant’s actions in aiding and abetting efforts to demonize, intimidate and injure LGBTI in Uganda constitute violations of international law. They do.
The much narrower and more technical question posed by Defendant’s motion is whether the limited actions taken by the Defendant on the American soil in pursuit of his odious campaign are sufficient to give this Court jurisdiction over plaintiff’s claim. Since they are not sufficient, summary judgment is appropriate for this, and only this reason”
Earlier in 2013, the Judge refused to grant dismissal of a motion, when Scott Lively’s lawyers argued that SMUG does not have jurisdiction to sustain a case in the US. The Judge stated in part that;
“the allegations of the complaint (aiding and abetting persecutions and prosecutions) were sufficient at that preliminary stage to clear the relatively law rule”
The Judge therefore invoked the Alien Tort Statute to allow the full hearing of the case, to that stage. November 9, both parties appeared and oral submissions were presented before the Judge in support of the dispositions before the Court.
In dismissing this case on jurisdictional grounds, the Judge agreed with the plaintiff’s averments of extremity of defendant’s homophobia and his determinations to vilify, repress and injure the LGBTI community, both generally and in Uganda particularly. Specific allegations confirmed that Defendant took some actions from inside the United States to pursuit of his goal”
…”discovery confirmed that the nature of the Defendant on the other hand, vicious, and on the other hand, lusciously extreme animus against LGBTI people and his determination to assist in persecuting then wherever they are, including Uganda. The evidence on record demonstrates that Defendant aided and abetted efforts restrict the freedom of expression by the members of the LGBTI community in Uganda, to suppress their civil rights, and make the very existence of LGBTI people in Uganda a crime. The record also confirms that these efforts to intimidate and injure, the LGBTI people in Uganda were, unfortunately to some extent, successful”
Following the above grounds from SMUG’s complaint against Scott Lively, SMUG finds that the Judge did not fault the Defendant (Scott) remorseful for his actions that made many Uganda suffer in their own land and or leave the country for asylum as reported by the numerous reports of the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UNHCR(Kenya Chapter), HIAS-Kenya, among others about the influx of LGBTI refugees.
SMUG therefore find the judgment unfair, inappropriate and passed without consideration of all the persecution and prosecution suffered by LGBTI community in Uganda, despite finding the Defendant Scott Lively liable for heinous acts that are considered crimes under International Law (Rome Statute). SMUG condemns in the strongest terms actions Scott Lively, and other evangelical extremists whose actions have tantamount to demonize, intimidate, injure and make existence of LGBTI people in Uganda crime.
SMUG has also been reliably informed that Scott Lively has instructed his legal team (Liberty Counsel) to appeal the summary judgment to remove the “prejudicial language” used to describe the defendant. SMUG shall be working with their legal team (CCR) to respond to any motions raised and or appeal to have the Defendant (Scott Lively) held liable for his actions.
This case is important to SMUG to avoid liabilities (strict and vicarious) by people who act with impunity against LGBTI community, and also to avoid the practice of crimes of international nature by the might of one’s territorial boundaries and belonging to superior Country.