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Visiting ICC boss says states should arrest Joseph Kony

ICC Registrar Osvaldo Zavala Giler talks to the press in Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The International Criminal Court (ICC) says it has little do to if the state parties to the Rome Statute do not use their power to have Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) warlord Joseph Kony arrested.

The ICC Registrar, Osvaldo Zavala Giler, currently on a visit to Uganda, said he does not have the police nor the army to arrest Joseph Kony. The ICC issued an arrest warrant against Joseph Kony on 8 July 2005.

According to the Prosecution’s submission of the Document containing the charges, Joseph Kony is suspected of 36 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, allegedly committed between at least 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005 in northern Uganda.

Osvaldo noted that the ICC is working hand in hand with the Ugandan government to ensure the elusive rebel leader is brought to justice.

“We are working very hard in cooperation with the state party of the court, and cooperation with the Ugandan government to try and secure the arrest and surrender to the ICC of Joseph Kony.  We are not cooperating with non-state actors and any other forces,” he said.

In November last year, the ICC Prosecutor sought the authorization of the court to revive the case against Kony.     Osvaldo told journalists that the coming confirmation of charges which isn’t a trial is to determine if sufficient evidence is available from the prosecution to warrant the court to start the trial.   He however noted that the trial won’t be conducted in the absence of the suspect even if the charges are to be confirmed against Kony in October.

According to Osvaldo, in any case, if the suspect fails to appear in person, the judges can appoint a lawyer to act on his behalf, a process he says his office commenced in identifying a lawyer to represent his rights during the confirmation of charges hearing.

The Registrar didn’t however reveal the lawyers who have so far applied but noted that the court is committed to ensuring the process is transparent.

About the status of the reparation order in the case of former Commander LRA Commander, Dominic Ongwen, Osvald it will take a long time before any payments are made to the victims.

He also noted that not all victims of Ongwen’s atrocities will receive symbolic reparation at the same time.

In February this year, the ICC ordered a total of Euros 52.429 million approximately 222 billion Shillings in compensation to the thousands of victims of Ongwen, one of the senior LRA commanders who is serving a 25-year jail sentence in Norway on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges. The court also ordered a symbolic payment of 750 euros to the estimated 49,772 direct and indirect victims of Ongwen’s atrocities.

The ICC registrar further revealed today that Ongwen’s defense lawyers in April this year appealed against the reparation order asking the chamber to suspend the implementation of the reparation order until a judgment on the appeal was issued by the appeal chamber.

He said while the court awaits the decision of the five panel members of judges at the appeal chambers, the trust fund for victims is moving on with the implementation of the appeal order unless otherwise.

The trust fund for victims is also expected to present a draft implementation plan by September 3rd detailing the process of reparation.  The Registrar indicated that the Process is ongoing despite the appeal. He said unless restrained by the Court, the implementation process will be continued

On 23 November 2023, Pre-Trial Chamber II issued a preliminary decision on the Prosecutor’s Request to hold a confirmation of charges hearing in Mr Kony’s absence. The Prosecutor filed the Document Containing the Charges on 19 January 2024.

On 4 March 2024, Pre-Trial Chamber II issued a decision on the Prosecutor’s request to hold confirmation of charges hearing in the case against Joseph Kony in the suspect’s absence, should he not appear, and set the date for this hearing, to commence on 15 October 2024.

In 2021, the US Government announced a US Dollars 5 million Bounty for any information leading to the arrest of Kony, a notorious LRA rebel leader who waged a two-decade rebellion against President Museveni.   Attempts by both the Ugandan and US Government armies to apprehend Kony over the years failed with the US and Uganda People’s Defense Forces -UPDF withdrawing in 2017 citing he wasn’t a threat anymore.

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One comment

  1. Saddened Ugandan

    Very soon we are going to hear that these are foreigners who are homosexuals who just want to disrespect our sovereignty and bring their neocolonialism because Kony has refused homosexuality as a God fearing Ugandan.

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