25 November 2013

Central Africa: UN Security Council Calls for Execution of Kony Arrest Warrant

Photo: Voxcom/IRIN
LRA fighters in Rikwangba, Sudan (file photo)

New York — The president of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday called for cooperation among member states in effecting arrest warrants issued for Lord's Resistance Army(LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony.

In 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrants for Kony, along with a number of his senior commanders. But none of the indicted LRA rebels indicted by the court has been apprehended so far.

In a presidential statement issued on Monday, the UNSC called for cooperation among member states of the ICC and national authorities to execute the arrest warrants.

"The Security Council recalls that the International Criminal Court's arrest warrants for Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and forced enlistment of children, have yet to be enforced, and calls upon all member states to cooperate with relevant national authorities ... in order to implement those warrants", the statement said in part.

The ICC's 122 member countries have signed the Rome Statute, the treaty which established the court in July 2002. The ICC has no police or army to effect arrest warrants that it issues, instead relying on member states to enforce and effect its warrants.

The UNSC's calls for the execution of the arrest warrants comes only days after the president of the Central Africa Republic (CAR), Michel Djotodia, was quoted by international media as saying the brutal rebel leader had contacted his government with intentions to surrender.

Fighting between the LRA and the Ugandan government displaced as many as two million people in northern Uganda where most of the two-decade-long conflict was focused.

The rebel group has since sparked increasing security problems throughout the Great Lakes region, displacing, killing and maiming people in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the CAR. The UNSC has also condemned the rebel group for its continued abduction of children to bolster its ranks.

"The council condemns further the LRA's recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts, killing, maiming, rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence, and abductions", the statement said.

The 15-member council also commended the international community for rehabilitation of those affected by the LRA conflict in South Sudan, DRC and CAR. The council also called for safe and unhindered access by humanitarian organisations to reach those affected by the LRA.

The LRA is designated as a terrorist group by the US state department. Last week, an anti-LRA petition signed by about 4,000 victims in the Great Lakes region was handed to Uganda's parliament by the advocacy group, Invisible Children.

The group called on the international community to end the mayhem caused by the LRA. A 3,000-strong African Union (AU) force comprising of regional armies is involved in the hunt for Kony in South Sudan, CAR and DRC.

In March this year, the fight against the LRA rebels was suspended following the takeover of power by the Seleka rebels in CAR, who in turn ordered foreign troops to leave its territory. The Ugandan army says it still has forces in CAR but only at assembly points and they are not involved in fighting the LRA

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