The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor is seeking to revive the case against the Ugandan rebel commander in his absence since he evaded arrest for nearly 20 years.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor has sought to revive the case against the fugitive Ugandan rebel commander. Joseph KonyWorld Health Organization He is still at large Since an arrest warrant was issued in 2005 over allegations of war crimes.

Prosecutor Karim Khan said he had asked the judges for permission to hold a hearing to confirm the charges against Kony, the notorious LRA commander, in his absence.

“This is the first time my office has made such a request since the establishment of the ICC,” Khan said.

Kony launched a bloody insurgency more than three decades ago in an attempt to impose his own version of the Ten Commandments in northern Uganda, unleashing a campaign of “terror” that spread to several neighboring countries.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Kony in 2005 over allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and US President Barack Obama in 2011 released a small number of US forces to help regional armies try to capture him.

However, this arrest warrant has not been executed to this day. Khan said in a statement that Mr. Kony had sought to evade judicial proceedings in this court for more than 17 years despite continuous efforts.

“I have decided that it is necessary and appropriate to seek to advance the proceedings against him to the fullest extent consistent with the Rome Statute,” the charter that governs the International Criminal Court, he said.

Khan explained that the suspects could not be tried in absentia at the ICC, but that confirmation hearings could be held while they were still on the run.

“important milestone”

The prosecutor added that confirming the charges against Kony would make it easier and faster for him to stand trial in the event of his arrest.

Khan said any hearing Kony would be involved in would be “a meaningful milestone for the victims of Mr Kony’s crimes who have patiently waited for justice for nearly two decades”.

Beginning with a bloody rebellion in northern Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni, the L.A The Lord’s Resistance Army campaign of violence More than 100,000 people have been killed and 60,000 children kidnapped.

The violence eventually spread to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.

The ICC said the allegations against Kony in the arrest warrant included murder, cruel treatment, enslavement, rape and attacks against the civilian population.

In 2021, Dominic Ongwen, a LRA child soldier-turned-commander, was found guilty by the International Criminal Court of war crimes and crimes against humanity and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He has appealed the verdict and sentence, arguing that he had distorted his history and still believed he was “possessed” by a Kony spirit.

The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 to bring perpetrators of the world’s worst crimes to justice, but it has been criticized for selecting many of its cases from African countries.

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