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Monday,October 26,2020 07:46 AM

UN insists on trying Kony

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th August 2006 03:00 AM

The noose continues to tighten around LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony’s neck, with the United Nations joining those clamouring for his head.

The noose continues to tighten around LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony’s neck, with the United Nations joining those clamouring for his head.

By Badru Mulumba
in New York

The noose continues to tighten around LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony’s neck, with the United Nations joining those clamouring for his head.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, told journalists at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday that the organisation wants the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to face trial.

“The position of the United Nations,” Dujarric said, “is that we would like Mr. Kony brought to justice.”

Kony, apparently under pressure from the International Criminal Court, is increasingly showing signs he is open to a peace deal with the Government.

The latest insistence by the UN that Kony should stand trial could complicate the already fragile peace negotiations in Juba, Sudan. Kony has told journalists he is not guilty.

In response, the ICC invited Kony, and four other accused LRA commanders to appear before The Hague-based court to defend themselves.

“The Court will guarantee their safe passage to The Hague and they will be given every opportunity and facility to present their case before an independent judicial body with the highest guarantees of the due process,” Luis Moreno Ocampo, ICC’s chief prosecutor said on June 30.

The Saturday death of Raska Lukwiya, left only Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen as the main culprits sought by the court.

Kony is yet to reply to the ICC call. apparently, the journalists who met him in Garamba forest reserve at the border between the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo did not ask him why he does not go to the Hague to prove his innocence.

Opponents of the peace negotiations say the negotiations only serve to sow seeds of impunity.

The LRA insurgency has displaced more than one million people.

The United Nations estimates that the rebels have abducted 25,000 children during a 20-year reign of terror, whom they used as fighters and porters, and institutionally raped girls.

More than half of the LRA is made up of children or children who have now become adults, the United Nations estimates.

Annan suggested last month that a UN special envoy be appointed.

“The envoy should ensure the security concerns of the governments in the region created by the LRA presence within their borders are addressed, and their responses are harmonised,” said Annan.

The United Nations, however, has said its Mission in the DR Congo (UNMIS) will not go after Kony.

“The resources given to MONUC don’t provide enough for us to go after Kony,” Dujarric said.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports from Juba that the UN forces in southern Sudan have no plans to arrest LRA rebels if they visit the capital Juba for peace talks, a top UN official said on Monday.

Southern Sudan’s government is hosting talks between Uganda’s government and representatives of the elusive rebels.

It wants LRA leader Kony or his deputy Otti to attend in person, but both are wanted for war crimes by the ICC and have so far stayed away.

“The UN is absolutely supportive of the ICC, however, there are no plans to make arrests in Sudan,” said James Ellery, southern region coordinator of Sudan’s UN Mission.

“Therefore, that should not be used as an excuse for Kony and Otti not to show up,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Negotiations began on July 14.

Ellery praised the efforts of the chief mediator, southern Sudan’s vice- president Riek Machar.

“The first thing he has done is got them around a table. It is a terrific achievement,” he said.

“The next stage has to be between the Ugandan and LRA leadership. Kony and Otti better get themselves involved, otherwise they will become irrelevant,” he said. Ellery said he saw the death of one of the LRA commanders having little impact on the peace process.

UN insists on trying Kony

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