Slow Court Process Worries LRA's Thomas Kwoyelo

1248 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
He faces 12 Confirmed counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and 53 alternative charges for crimes allegedly committed during the insurgency in northern Uganda. They include willful killing, kidnap with intent to murder and destruction of property among others.

Former LRA Commander Thomas Kwoyelo is concerned over the prolonged court process that has kept him in jail for close to seven years now. Kwoyelo has been in detention since March 2009 pending his trial before the International Crimes Division (ICD) in Uganda.

He faces 12 Confirmed counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and 53 alternative charges for crimes allegedly committed during the insurgency in northern Uganda. They include willful killing, kidnap with intent to murder and destruction of property among others.

Hearing of the charges has however taken numerous strands with issues such as the constitutionality of his prosecution, limited funding to the International Crimes Division, operationalizing of the court ICD regulations, and a backlog of electoral petitions among others.

Kwoyelo who appeared for a pretrial hearing before justice Suzan Okalany at the high court on Tuesday, said in an interview that his greatest fear and pain was the fact that he has spent a long time in jail and that the court process don't seem to be taking shape.

"What concerns me is the court process, I worry about it a lot and I have spent a long time in prison. What pains me the most is being in jail without trial" Kwoyelo told URN after the court session.

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Kwoyelo's case is only at the Pre-Trial stage, during which judges determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.  The pretrial that kicked off today is expected to take the entire week.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.