JUDICIARY Latest Features

92 Charges Slapped Against Ex-LRA Commander
Thomas Kwoyelo

Kampala. Thomas Kwoyelo alias Latoni, the former rebelcommander with the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) was on March 14, 2017 chargedafresh with 92 charges. These are in connection with his alleged killings ofcivilian population during the two-decade insurgency in northern Uganda led byJoseph Kony.

Theamended charges comprise crimes against humanity, violations of Article 3 ofthe Common Geneva Conventions under the customary international laws andserious offenses under the Penal Code Act.

Theamended charges were read out for Kwoyelo during the pre-trial before theInternational Crimes Division of the High Court sitting in Kampala and presidedover by Hon. Lady Justice Susan Okalany.

Theamended charges now range from several counts of murder as a crime againsthumanity, hostage taking as a violation of article 3 (1) of the Common GenevaConventions, kidnap with intent to murder, pillaging, murder contrary tosections 188 and 189 of the Penal Code and robbery with aggravation.

Theother charges include; imprisonment as a crime against humanity, hostage takingas violation of article 3 (1) of Common Geneva Conventions, attempted murder,other inhumane acts, cruel treatment, outrageous upon personal dignity, tortureas a crime against humanity, rape, and violation to life.

Accordingto the indictment attached to the amended charge sheet, the Director of PublicProsecutions (DPP) states that he will produce evidence at the actual trial toprove the charges against Kwoyelo.

TheDPP states in the indictment that  he will prove that Kwoyelo, who wasborn in Acut Cama    Ceri Village, PabboSub-county, Kilak County in the present day Amuru District underwent basicmilitary training that saw him quickly rise through the LRA ranks to becomecolonel, the rank he was arrested at.

Coreto the charges against Kwoyelo is that between 1992 and 2005 he was a militarycommander in the LRA and held several positions including being the commanderof operations, director military intelligence, and the in charge of sick bays.

It'salso alleged that Kwoyelo was based in Kilak County where he carried out wide spreadattacks against civilian population, abductions, destruction of property andkillings.  

"Onthe 5/9/1994 or there about, the accused (Kwoyelo) commanded an armed attack inAbera village, Parubanga Parish, Pabbo Sub county, Kilak County along with hisforces raided several civilian homes." Read in part the indictment

Theindictment further read: "In the course of the raid, the accused (Kwoyelo) andhis forces tortured, maimed and abducted a number of civilians including DavidAkena, Patrick Ochen, Menya Odong, John Ouma, Ojok Patrick, Okot Charles, SimonOgena and others."

Furtherin the indictment, the DPP states that he will at the actual trial, will leadand also rely on several pieces of evidence to prove his case.

TheDPP names such pieces of such evidence as; postmortem reports, police Form 3and other appendices, photographs, correspondences, written statements ofwitnesses, and newspaper extracts.

"Theprosecution shall aver that there is sufficient evidence against the accused(Kwoyelo)and shall pray that the honorable court finds him guilty as charged."The DPP prayed to court in the indictment.

Previously,Kwoyelo was facing 53 counts of murder, willful killing, kidnap with intent tokill, aggravated robbery and destruction of property in connection with Konyled war against the government.

Kwoyelo'spre-trial follows the judgment of the Supreme Court two years ago in which itheld that the former LRA rebel should be tried before the International CrimesDivision.

Kwoyelowas captured by the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces in Garamba National Park inthe Democratic Republic of Congo in 2005. Subsequently, he was brought back toUganda and detained at Luzira Upper Prison.

However,while at Luzira Prison, Kwoyelo on January 12, 2010, made a declaration beforethe officer in charge of the prison of how he was renouncing rebellion andseeking amnesty.

Thisdeclaration was submitted to the Amnesty Commission and on March 19, 2010, theCommission forwarded the same declaration to the DPP for consideration butinstead, criminal charges were slapped against him for his role in the LRA war.

Posted 15th, March 2017
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