Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Kony can run but he can’t hide from justice
It’s two weeks now since the man hunt for the reclusive, indicted, international war criminal Joseph Kony was launched by a combined force of troops from Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo.

And although the latest military offensive against the Lords Resistance Army, (LRA) bandits in their hideouts in Garamba, has come rather too late, and is yet to register any significant success -it’s still important in a sense that justice must be accorded to the millions of people in northern Uganda who have for the last 20 years suffered the brutality of Kony and his rag-tag army.

Kony has duped the international community and cost this country billions of tax payers’ money in the now infamous –two-year -Juba peace jokes! It was pretty obvious from the onset of the failed peace talks that Kony - aware of the heinous crimes he has committed against humanity- would never surrender without putting up a fight!

That’s why there is no option but for the government troops, supported by our regional allies, now conducting ‘Operation Lightning Thunder’ to capture Kony and his blood-stained commanders and have them answer charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

And our forces now have the capabilities to pull this one off - of course with the support of the Ugandan people.

Although, this column, doesn’t necessarily agree with what the government has done or has not done in the past, to end Kony’s ferocious killing of innocent civilians in Northern Uganda, justice must prevail whatever the circumstances. And when our forces make an effort to catch Kony and bring him to justice, then they should be supported by all law abiding citizens of this country.

For the record is clear, Kony and his group of butchers have murdered an estimated 30,000 people during the execution of their two-decade, unjustified rebellion in the northern part of the country.

An estimated 2 million people were displaced as a result of this war and the majority of them have until recently, been living in camps under squalid conditions.

The LRA’s horrendous attacks on innocent civilians did not spare children who were abducted and illegally conscripted in the LRA as child soldiers. They abducted women and girls whom they kept in captivity as sex slaves for so long .

At Kony’s command, the LRA gangsters used machetes and hoes to maim their victims; chopping lips and ears of the captives. They raided schools and forced students to fight and kill their own relatives. Many of the lucky surviving victims will never recover from the trauma visited upon them by the blood-soiled hands of Kony and those under his command. Because of their unprecedented cruelty, Kony’s LRA, deserves no sympathy in the civilised world.

And this is the reason why the ICC, a court set up by the global community under the Rome Statute has since issued warrants of arrest for Kony and his commanders- indicted on 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Kony can run in the forested Garamba border areas in DR Congo but he can not hide forever and he cannot escape the rule of law. The international criminal law is to the effect that no war criminal can escape justice.

Once a person has committed war crimes as spelt out in the Rome Statute, then that person cannot even benefit from the provisions of our amnesty law. War crimes and crimes against humanity are international in nature and suspects can be picked from anywhere in the world by any spirited individual or state to arraigned them at the ICC for trial.

The UPDF should use all its capabilities and bring all resources to bear in this new effort to find Kony and his commanders to have them answer for their criminal acts. The UPDF should earn the support of the people of Uganda and hope our brothers and sisters in northern Uganda have a peaceful festive season.
Happy New Year to all of you the ardent readers of this column.

Mr Sserwanga is an advocate