13 December 2012

Uganda: ICC Ready to Prosecute LRA Warlord Kony

Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda addresses the Security Council (file photo).

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has reaffirmed the commitment of the international community to arrest and try Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony and his accomplices for crimes against humanity.

Addressing the 7th Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the International Criminal Court and the World Parliamentary Conference on Human Rights in Rome Italy recently, Bensouda warned that the crimes by the LRA outfit had spread across the region from Uganda to Congo, Sudan and Central African Republic.

"It's a long time now since we issued warrants. I think it's time now that Kony is stopped, arrested and brought to the ICC. We are now ready to start the case of Kony but we need to have his person before the ICC", she announced to delegates.

Prosecutor Bensouda however said the ICC lacked an international police force to hunt for the fugitive leader and his accomplices since it only runs as a judicial institution with no army to arrest accused persons.

The responsibility to arrest Joseph Kony she emphasized still lies with the state parties that signed the ICC Statute.

"By joining the Rome Statute, state parties commit to co-operate with the court whenever and wherever the court decides to act. Co-operation is critical for the success of the Court and the office of the Prosecutor. Lack of cooperation and delays in implementation will affect the legitimacy and efficiency of the court,"Bensouda said.

In July 2005, the International Criminal Court issued five arrest warrant against senior Lord's Resistance Army rebel leaders Joseph Kony, Rasta Lukwiya, Dominic Ongwen, Okot Odhiambo and Vincent Otti.

Uganda legislator Betty Amongi had earlier told the conference that the lack of an army to effect arrest of persons for whom arrest warrants have been issued by the ICC undermined the role of the institution.

Currently the ICC has 12 suspects at large and cannot proceed with prosecution until they are arrested.

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