- The government of Uganda has finally established a special war crimes tribunal to try the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Four LRA leaders - Joseph Kony and his commanders, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen - have been on the arrest warrant of the International Criminal Court (ICC) since July 2005. The warlords are wanted for their roles in committing war crimes and crimes against, including killings, conscription of child soldiers and rape in the vast East African country.
Uganda's Foreign Minister Daniel Omara Atubo raised curtain on the development said the three-judge tribunal has been established under the terms of a peace agreement with the northern rebel group. LRA's founder who claims to defend the Ten Commandments refused to sign the accord last month after he had raised some eyebrows on a number of issues, including the ICC's pending arrest warrants.
For more than two decades, Kony's rebel group has made name for unleashing untold sufferings in northern Uganda, with the Acholi community becoming its greatest victim.
On several occasions, Kony would either delay the signing of peace accords or totally refused to sign, despite international pressures and offers of guarantees by the Ugandan government. He had earlier delayed the signing of an accord on the establishment of the special war crimes tribunal and the Mato Oput [a traditional justice system], asking the Museveni government to clarify the tribunals'judicial competence.
Mr Atubo said the establishment of the special tribunal clearly indicates that "the government is still committed to the peace process, despite the LRA's unseriousness."
Ugandan conflict resulted to the killing of thousands of people and displacement of several others. In some cases, rebels were said to have mutilated bodies of innocent civilians.
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