The ICC prosecutor wants to reopen the case against a Ugandan terrorist leader who has been on the run for almost 20 years.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor wants to reopen the case against Ugandan terrorist leader Joseph Kony, who has not been heard from since his arrest in 2005 on war crimes.
Prosecutor Karim Khan said he asked the judges to allow him to try Kony, the head of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), in his absence.
This is the first time that my office has made such a request to set up the ICC,” said Khan.
Kony launched a bloody insurgency more than three decades ago to impose his Ten Commandments in northern Uganda, launching a campaign of “terror” that spread to several neighboring countries.
The ICC in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Kony in 2005 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in 2011 deployed a small number of US troops to support the armed forces. ‘areas to try to catch him.
However, this arrest warrant has not been used so far. Mr. Kony has been seeking prosecution in this court for more than 17 years despite continuing efforts,” Mr. Khan said in a statement.
“I have considered it necessary and appropriate to seek to advance the charges against him fully in accordance with the Rome Statute,” said a statement issued by the ICC.
Suspects cannot be prosecuted at the ICC in their absence, but it is possible to have cases to prove they are still fugitives, Khan explained.
Proving the charges against Kony would make it easier and faster to prosecute him if he is caught, the prosecutor added.
Any trial against Kony would be “very important for the victims of Kony’s crimes who have been waiting for justice for nearly two decades,” Khan said.
Beginning with a bloody insurgency in northern Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni, the LRA’s campaign of violence has killed more than 100,000 people and seen 60,000 children abducted.
The violence spread to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic.
The charges against Kony in the arrest warrant include murder, brutality, slavery, rape, and attacks on civilians, the ICC said.
In 2021, the ICC ruled that another LRA soldier, Dominic Ongwen, was guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 25 years in prison.
He has appealed against the conviction and sentence, saying he was scarred by his reputation and still believes he was “possessed” by Kony’s spirit.
The ICC was established in 2002 to try the world’s worst criminals, but people have been criticized for choosing many cases in African countries.