New Vision (Kampala)

26 January 2013

Uganda: No Amnesty for Kony

Government will not grant amnesty to Joseph Kony, Jamil Mukulu and other hard core criminals waging war against it, Parliament has heard.

State minister of internal affairs, James Baba clarified to the committee of defence that Kony, Mukulu and others will be prosecuted in the courts of law even if they came out to denounce rebellion.

He was responding to a question raised by MP Simon Mulongo as to whether the two can be granted amnesty should they come out peacefully and denounce rebellion.

Baba stated that the government entered into peace negotiations with Kony, whom they invited to Juba to sign the agreement, but failed to show up. What do you want us to do except to apply the law, he said adding, People want to go for peace but with accountability.

Kony waged war in northern Uganda against the government while Mukulu was leader of the Allied Democratic Forces that waged war in Kasese and other areas.

The committee had invited the Minister of Internal Affairs over petitions by religious, traditional leaders and civil society opposing the revoking of Part 11 of the Amnesty Act.

Part 11 provides for granting of amnesty to any Ugandan who has at any one time since January 26, 1986 engaged in or is engaging in war or armed rebellion against the government by actual participation in combat, collaborating with perpetrators of war and by committing any other crime in the furtherance of war or armed rebellion.

The minister explained that by virtue of statutory Instrument No. 34 of 2012, Part 11 of the Amnesty Act, 200 lapsed. The rest of the Act was extended for a period of 12 months from May 2012 to May 2013, Baba said.

By declaration of the lapse of Part 11 of the Act, amnesty in Uganda is non-existent-ceasing the power of the Amnesty Commission to grant amnesty.

Currently, he said, any person engaging in war or armed rebellion against the government, may if investigated be prosecuted and the decision to do so or not lies with the Director of Public Prosecution.

Explaining the lapse of Part 11, he said there has been outcry from communities that women victims of sexual and gender based crimes are suffering twice because they continue to suffer the consequences of sexual gender based crimes committed against them during the war and then forced to face their tormentors who are granted amnesty by the law which requires no accountability for crimes committed during the war.

He said the government will critically examine the possibility of incorporating amnesty within the context of a national transitional justice policy.

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