THE HAGUE, Friday - The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) said Thursday that the court would decide the fate of the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army rebel leader Joseph Kony, despite an offer of amnesty for the war crimes indictee by the Ugandan president.
â€œFinally, the judges will have to decide what to do with the case. The court is the only arbiter of its mandate, the judges will decide,â€ chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo told a press briefing here.
Ugandaâ€™s President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday pledged to grant total amnesty to Kony â€” whom the court has indicted on war crimes charges â€” if peace talks due to open in southern Sudan next week succeed.
Ocampo would not comment directly on the amnesty offer other than to say the ICC, the worldâ€™s first permanent war crimes court, â€œrespects the mandate of the presidentâ€.
But when pressed, he said only the court could decide the future of the case against Kony and other LRA leaders.
â€œWe believe the best way to stop crimes and restore security to the region is to arrest the top leaders of the LRA ... We trust the arrest warrant will be executed,â€ Ocampo said.
â€œWe are deeply concerned that the LRA will use this time to regroup and re-arm and attack again,â€ he warned.
Kony has led the LRA since 1988 in its brutal insurgency in northern Uganda against Museveniâ€™s government.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in the conflict, in which the LRA is accused of numerous atrocities including mass abductions of children, mutilations, rape and pillaging.
On Thursday, the US said it backed talks, but opposed amnesty for the rebels.
ICC to decide Kony fate