Global Policy Forum

ICC Insists Kony Must Face Prosecution


By Felix Osike and Henry Mukasa

New Vision - Kampala
October 11, 2007

The International Criminal Court has stepped up its international lobby to have LRA leader Joseph Kony and his three top commanders arrested to face trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In his October diplomatic brief, the ICC chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, warned that the LRA was regrouping and continued to commit atrocities in Garamba, DR Congo. As a consequence, he said, the outstanding warrants of arrest issued two years ago for Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen should be implemented.

"Those warrants must be executed. There is no excuse. There is no tension between peace and justice in Uganda: arrest the sought criminals today and you will have peace and justice tomorrow. Victims deserve both," Ocampo stated. The ICC expressed concern that the LRA had threatened violence if the indictments were not withdrawn.

"The criminals have threatened to resume violence if the arrest warrants are not withdrawn. They are setting conditions. It is blackmail. The international community has to ensure protection of those exposed to those threats," the prosecutor said. He noted with concern that the LRA had gained strength and credibility in recent months. "Kony and the three other indicted commanders have regained strength and financial means. We ask state parties to monitor with utmost vigilance supply networks, possible diversion of aid and funds to the benefit of the sought individuals," he urged.

The prosecutor thanked countries for their efforts to monitor assistance from the Diaspora to the LRA. "It must be recalled that any assistance that can help the sought individuals abscond from the court would be illegal," he warned. At all public functions, he advised, it should be pointed out that the LRA commanders are responsible for massive crimes, including the abduction of children and turning them into killers and sex slaves. He also said none of the abducted children and sex slaves had been released, despite repeated demands from Unicef and the UN. He noted that the LRA was threatening the stability of the region and urged the international community and MONUC to support Uganda and the DRC in their efforts to arrest the wanted commanders.

Internal affairs minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the leader of the Government delegation at the Juba talks, said Ocampo's statements were in order because he was carrying out the mandate of the ICC, to which Uganda is a member. The lifting of the arrest warrants would only be dealt with after the signing of a peace agreement, accountability has been carried out and impunity dealt with, will the Government ask the ICC to review the indictments, he said.

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