International Criminal Court investigation in Uganda
The seal of the International Criminal Court
|Date referred||16 December 2003|
|Date opened||29 July 2004|
Crimes against humanity:
· Inhumane acts
· Sexual enslavement
· Attacks against civilians
· Cruel treatment
· Enlisting of children
· Inducing of rape
|Status of suspects|
|Vincent Otti||Fugitive (may have died)|
The International Criminal Court investigation in Uganda or the situation in Uganda is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency which has been taking place in northern Uganda and neighbouring regions since 1987. The Lord's Resistance Army is a Christian-based group led by Joseph Kony that is accused of numerous human rights violations including massacres, the abduction of civilians, the use of child soldiers, sexual enslavement, torture, and pillaging. Following the referral of the situation to the ICC by the government of Uganda in December 2003, warrants of arrest were issued in 2005 for Joseph Kony, Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen, and Vincent Otti, becoming the first people to be indicted by the Court. The proceedings against Lukwiya were terminated in July 2007 following his death on 12 August 2006.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a Christian-based rebel group that has been active in Uganda and neighbouring countries since 1987. The LRA is led by Joseph Kony, a former faith healer who founded the group on the theology of Alice Auma's failed Holy Spirit Movement. Kony claims to communicate with and receive instructions from spirits and God. He also claims that his insurgency is for the betterment of the Acholi people, although he has been quoted as saying, "if the Acholi don't support us, they must be finished".
The government of Uganda referred the situation to the Court on 16 December 2003. The referral was communicated via a letter sent by President Yoweri Museveni to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno Ocampo. The two met following the referral to establish the methods of cooperation between the Office of the Prosecutor and the government of Uganda. The two held a press conference in London on 29 January 2004 to publicly announce the referral. On 5 July 2004 the situation was assigned to Pre-Trial Chamber II by ICC President Philippe Kirsch. Moreno Ocampo announced the beginning of an official investigation on 29 July 2004.
Moreno Ocampo applied to Pre-Trial Chamber II for warrants of arrest for Kony, Lukwiya, Odhiambo, Ongwen and Otti on 6 May 2005 and the warrants for all five men were issued under seal on 8 July of that year. The warrants were unsealed on 13 October 2005.
The five men are all indicted in the same case and the indictment lists 33 crimes: 21 counts of war crimes (listed below as WC) and 12 counts of crimes against humanity (listed below as CAH). The statute column contains the reference to the crime in the articles of the Rome Statute. Not all of the counts apply to all of the men, however they all apply to Joseph Kony and all but one applies to Vincent Otti. The counts on the indictment are as follows.
The prosecution of the five suspects was initially consolidated into one case. However, Raska Lukwiya was dropped as a defendant following the confirmation of his death.
The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen
Currently all four suspects are at large as fugitives and their whereabouts are unknown. On 1 June 2006 Interpol issued red notices for all the suspects. Kony and Ongwen are still believed to be leading the LRA, which has since been accused of perpetrating additional crimes. Both are suspected to be in either Uganda or a neighboring country. In 2009 Odhiambo told Agence France-Presse that he had defected from the LRA, but would only surrender if there was a guarantee that he would not be turned over to the Court. In December 2007, BBC News reported that on 2 October 2007 Otti had been executed on orders from Kony. Kony later confirmed Otti's death to a mediator between the Ugandan government and the LRA, however because the death has not been independently verified the Court still considers him to be at large and the proceedings against him have not been suspended.
Lukwiya's case was joined with their other defendants until proceedings against him were terminated following the confirmation of his death. Lukwiya was killed on 12 August 2006 in a battle with the Ugandan military. Following the Uganda government's confirmation of his death, the Court terminated proceedings against him on 11 July 2007.
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- Situation in Uganda – International Criminal Court
- Kony2012 - Campaign to stimulate the arrest of Joseph Kony