Uganda Debates Amnesty Law For LRA
August 18, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
KAMPALA, Uganda, Aug. 18 (UPI) — Ugandan prosecutors are debating the validity of the country’s amnesty law as authorities review the case of a top rebel commander.
Col. Thomas Kwoyelo, a rebel leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, is charged with crimes ranging from murder to kidnapping.
More than 10,000 LRA rebels were pardoned under Uganda’s amnesty laws, however, since 2000. Patricia Mutesi, a state attorney in Uganda, was quoted by Radio Netherlands as saying the amnesty law has run its course.
“As long as all rebels can just get amnesty we have impunity in this country,” she said. “That must stop.”
Caleb Alaka, Kwoyelo’s lawyer, however, takes another view by saying giving amnesty to some LRA fighters and not others is discriminatory.
“My client was abducted at the age of 13 and tried to escape from the rebels several times,” he added. “He has renounced the rebellion and therefore fulfilled all requirements for (amnesty).”
The LRA was accused in July by human rights officials with the United Nations of killing at least 26 people in 53 different villages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in June. Another 21 people, including 10 children, were kidnapped.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for LRA leader Joseph Kony and five other top commanders in 2006.