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Press Release :

Warrant of Arrest unsealed against five LRA Commanders

ICC-CPI-20051014-110

Situation: Uganda
Case: The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen

On 13 October 2005, Pre-Trial Chamber II unsealed the warrants of arrest for five senior leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) for Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes committed in Uganda since July 2002. The Chamber concluded that “there are reasonable grounds to believe” that Joseph KONY, Vincent OTTI, Okot ODHIAMBO, Dominic ONGWEN and Raska LUKWIYA, “ordered the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court”.

The warrants of arrest were issued under seal by Pre-Trial Chamber II on 8 July 2005 to ‘’ensure the safety or physical or psychological well-being of“ and to “prevent the disclosure of the identity or whereabouts of any victims, potential witnesses and their families‘’. The Chamber also issued requests for arrest and surrender of the five LRA commanders named in the warrants and decided that they would be transmitted by the Registrar of the International Criminal Court to the Government of Uganda.

Pre-Trial Chamber II decided on 13 October to unseal the arrest warrants, noting that “the overall plan in respect of the situation in Uganda for the security of witnesses and victims in the field has been completed and implemented; and that by the assessment and advice of the Prosecutor and the Victims and Witness Unit the overall plans provides the necessary and adequate protective measures for all concerned at this stage’’.

The warrants of arrest are the first to be issued by the International Criminal Court since its creation by an international treaty, the Rome Statute adopted on 17 July 1998. The aim of the Court is to help end impunity for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. 

BACKGROUND

According to the allegations set out in the warrants of arrest, the LRA is an armed group which “has established a pattern of brutalization of civilians by acts including murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burnings of houses and looting of camp settlements; that abducted civilians, including children, are said to have been forcibly recruited as fighters, porters and sex slaves and to take part in attacks against the Ugandan army (UPDF) and civilian communities”. 

The specific allegations are that in mid-2002 Joseph Kony ordered LRA forces to begin a campaign of attacks against civilians in Uganda. 

It is alleged that during the last quarter of 2003 Kony issued orders to kill, loot and abduct civilian populations, including those living in camps for internally displaced persons (“IDP”). In response, senior LRA commanders and all of the brigade commanders, including the persons named in the warrants of arrest, began attacking several regions in Uganda. The direct involvement of the persons whose arrest and surrender are sought in the objectives and strategies of the campaign is supported by evidence submitted by the Prosecutor.

THE COUNTS

The warrant of arrest for Joseph Kony lists thirty-three counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Articles 25(3)(a) and 25(3)(b) of the Statute) including:

  • Twelve counts of crimes against humanity (murder - Article 7(1)(a); enslavement - Article 7(1)(c); sexual enslavement – Article 7(1)(g); rape - Article 7(1)(g); inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering - Article 7(1)(k)), and;
  • Twenty-one counts of war crimes (murder - Article 8(2)(c)(i); cruel treatment of civilians – Article 8(2)(c)(i); intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population – Article 8(2)(e)(i); pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v); inducing rape – Article 8(2)(e)(vi);  forced enlisting of children - 8(2)(e)(vii)).

The warrant of arrest for Vincent Otti lists thirty-two counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 25(3)(b) of the Statute) including: 

  • Eleven counts of crimes against humanity (murder - Article 7(1)(a); sexual enslavement – Article 7(1)(g); inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering - Article 7(1)(k)), and;
  • Twenty-one counts of war crimes (inducing rape – Article 8(2)(e)(vi); intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population – Article 8(2)(e)(i); forced enlisting of children - 8(2)(e)(vii); cruel treatment of civilians – Article 8(2)(c)(i); pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v); murder - Article 8(2)(c)(i)).

The warrant of arrest for Okot Odhiambo lists  ten counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 25(3)(b) of the Statute) including: 

  • Two counts of crimes against humanity (murder - Article 7(1)(a); enslavement - Article 7(1)(c)), and;
  • Eight counts of war crimes (murder - Article 8(2)(c)(i ); intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population – Article 8(2)(e)(i); pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v); forced enlisting of children - 8(2)(e)(vii)).

The warrant of arrest for Dominic Ongwen lists seven counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 25(3)(b) of the Statute) including: 

  • Three counts of crimes against humanity (murder - Article 7(1)(a); enslavement - Article 7(1)(c); inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering - Article 7(1)(k)), and;
  • Four counts of war crimes (murder - Article 8(2)(c)(i)); cruel treatment of civilians – Article 8(2)(c)(i); intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population – Article 8(2)(e)(i); pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v)).

The warrant of arrest for Raska Lukwiya lists four counts on the basis of his individual criminal responsibility (Article 25(3)(b) of the Statute) including:

  • One count of crimes against humanity (enslavement - Article 7(1)(c)), and;
  • Three counts of war crimes (cruel treatment of civilians – Article 8(2)(c)(i); intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population – Article 8(2)(e)(i); pillaging - Article 8(2)(e)(v)).


For basic information on facts and procedure related to the situation in Uganda please click here.


For further information, please contact:
The ICC Spokesperson Ernest Sagaga on Tel. +31 (0)70 515 8762 / Mob. +31 (0)6 4644 8710

or
The Spokesperson for the Office of the Prosecutor,  Yves Sorokobi on Tel. +31 (0)70 515 8560

-Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo will hold a press conference, Friday 14 October 2005, at 14.00 CET, at the ICC headquarters (Maanweg 174, 2516 AB, The Hague). There will be an opportunity for media in Kampala to follow the press conference by conference telephone at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala at 15.00 local time.

Source : Office of the Prosecutor