Ugandan War Crimes Court Ready and Able to Prosecute LRA

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The Judiciary says its special division, the War Crimes Court, is ready to prosecute cases against the Lord's Resistance Army. However doubts of their capacity to carry out the work effectively remain. Rachel Odoi-Musoke, a technical advisor with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, puts up a spirited defense of the special court's readiness. Speaking in Kampala, Odoi-Musoke said judicial officers have been trained in war courts in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and The Hague. She says they are well versed in the Rome Statute under which the International Criminal Court operates and is capable of translating this knowledge into successful prosecution of Joseph Kony and his commanders in the LRA. //Cue in: "We generally have competent ..." Cue out: "... international crimes."// The government set up the War Crimes Court as an alternative to the International Criminal Court. Its creation was agreed upon during peace talks between government and the LRA. At the time, the special court was seen as the only solution to end the rebellion by the LRA. The rebels refused to sign any deal until arrest warrants against them by the International Criminal Court were lifted. However government has no intention of letting the rebels go free and the Director of Public Prosecutions has already recommended the prosecution of former LRA commander, Thomas Kwoyello, to the War Crimes Court. Rachel Odoi-Musoke says 12 senior prosecutors were selected from the judiciary specifically to prosecute war crimes. She says the court is only waiting for President Yoweri Museveni to assent to the International Criminal Court Act to begin operations.


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