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ICC makes bid to revive Joseph Kony matter

Publish date: 27 November 2023
Issue Number: 1055
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Criminal

The International Criminal Court (ICC) hopes to include further charges against fugitive Joseph Kony after judges issued a preliminary decision on the prosecution’s request to hold a confirmation of charges hearing against the LRA leader. On Thursday, Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala, Judge Tomoko Akane and Judge Sergio Gerardo Ugalde Godínez ordered the ICC prosecutor to submit, within four weeks, a plan indicating efforts it would pursue to inform Kony of the charges against him. A New Vision report notes that the judges’ directive follows prosecutors’ request to hold a hearing on the confirmation of charges against Kony in his absence, filed on 24 November 2022, after failure to arrest Kony. In 2005, the ICC issued an arrest warrant against Kony to stand trial on 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US placed a $5m bounty for any person who arrests the LRA chief, whose whereabouts remain a mystery. On Thursday, the ICC's Dahirou Sant-Anna also revealed that the ICC intends to slap more charges against Kony.

In their decision, the judges said: ‘The Chamber balanced the fair trial rights of the suspect, on the one hand, and the interests of justice on the other hand, including the gravity of the alleged crimes and alleged role of the suspect in their perpetration; the impact of the confirmation hearing on victims; and the prospect of the case further advancing should the charges be confirmed. The Chamber also recalled that the Rome Statute does not allow proceedings in the suspect’s absence beyond the confirmation of charges hearing at the pre-trial stage. Should the charges be confirmed, the case cannot proceed to trial, because any trial requires Kony to be present before the court.' New Vision notes that Kony is accused of committing murder, cruel treatment, enslavement, rape, and attacks against the civilian population in Northern Uganda. The LRA rebel leader launched a brutal rebellion from Northern Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni’s leadership that left over 1m people displaced and hundreds of thousands killed in a war that spanned two decades.

Full New Vision report

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