ICC prosecutor urges arrest of Uganda war crimes suspect after new attacks

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Monday renewed his call for the arrest of Ugandan rebel leader and war crimes suspect Joseph Kony [BBC profile; case materials] after new attacks attributed to the rebels. Moreno-Ocampo said Kony's group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], was responsible for attacks on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) civilians [ICC release] earlier this month. Moreno-Ocampo also said that despite claims by Kony that he is willing to negotiate a peace deal [JURIST report], the recent attacks were characteristic of the LRA and called the peace talks an intentional distraction:

These attacks all follow a similar method with markets surrounded and looted, students abducted from school, properties burned and dozens of civilians killed, including several local chiefs. Tens of thousands have now been displaced... Kony-just as he has many times in the past--uses the peace talks to gain time and support, to rearm and attack again. The price paid today by civilians is high. The criminals remain at large and continue to commit crimes and they are threatening the entire region. Arrest is long overdue.
AP has more.

Moreno-Ocampo in May announced the launch of a new investigation [JURIST report] against Kony and other LRA leaders. In March, Moreno-Ocampo maintained that arrest warrants issued by the ICC for LRA leaders [JURIST report] remain in effect, despite requests from Uganda that they be withdrawn. The four ICC-issued warrants were executed in 2005 and include LRA leader Joseph Kony and LRA senior member Vincent Otti [BBC profiles]. In 2007, Otti was executed by rebels [BBC report], though official confirmation of his death was delayed until January amid fears that it would disrupt peace talks. Kony is wanted for orchestrating the killing of thousands of civilians and the enslavement of thousands more children over two decades of conflict. The government has said that Kony is willing to face trial at home [JURIST report], but not at the ICC. A fifth arrest warrant was initially issued for Raska Lukwiya but was later withdrawn after a July 2007 ICC pre-trial chamber decision.

 

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