UN welcomes commander's transfer to war crimes tribunal

UN chief and Security Council welcome transfer of senior Lord's Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen to International Criminal Court.

UN welcomes commander's transfer to war crimes tribunal
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council welcomed the transfer of a senior commander in the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army militia group to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday.

In a statement, the UN chief said Dominic Ongwen's transfer to the Hague-based court "marks an important milestone in accountability," as the first Lord's Resistance Army commander to be brought before the tribunal.

Ongwen commanded the "Senior Brigade" of the Lord's Resistance Army, which has been blamed for atrocities including rape, sexual slavery, murder and mutilation. He surrendered to U.S. Special Forces in the Central African Republic in early January.

"It is a step forward in efforts to bring justice to the thousands of victims of LRA violence in Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and CAR (Central African Republic) over the past 28 years," Ban said.

The 15-member Security Council in turn released its own statement to the press unanimously welcoming the transfer of Ongwen to the court.

"The members of the Security Council viewed this development as a positive step for international criminal justice and for the fight against impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, as well as towards efforts to address the threat posed by the LRA," read the statement.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki welcomed the hand-over, saying it is a step toward justice for the victims of the Lord's Resistance Army.

“Today’s developments give hope – to the survivors, to the four countries affected by the LRA, and to their partners around the world – that the nightmare of the LRA can be brought to an end,” Psaki said in a statement. “We call on the remaining LRA members to follow the lead of the more than 250 individuals who have left the LRA since 2012 to put down their arms and return home.”

The Security Council also called for executing International Criminal Court arrest warrants for other LRA leaders, including its chief Joseph Kony.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Kony’s arrest in 2005, accusing him of human rights violations, including some 10,000 killings and the kidnapping and enslavement of more than 24,000 children.

He is still on the loose and is being chased by regional armies with the help of U.S. soldiers.

The Lord's Resistance Army militia terrorized northern Uganda and neighboring countries in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The group built up a considerable military presence in the region in the mid-1990s when it received the support of the Sudanese government, which sought to retaliate against Uganda for its backing of Sudanese rebels.

 

Last Mod: 21 Ocak 2015, 11:13
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