The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has asked for evidence on Thomas Kwoyelo, a former Commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army who has remained in detention despite court pronouncements to set him free.
The decision is part of a resolution that the Commission made at its 13 extra-ordinary session held in Gambia between February 19 to 25. Last year, John Francis Onyango, Kwoyelo’s lawyer asked the Commission to help end what he described as continued illegal detention of Kwoyelo, long after the courts had cleared him of wrongdoing.
In the complaints to the Commission against the government of Uganda, Onyango explained that Kwoyelo was a child soldier conscripted into LRA ranks but who was shot by government forces when he surrendered. Onyango asked the Commission to recognize that the Uganda government has violated Kwoyelo’s rights and provide reparations to him.
He further asked the Commission to prompt government to respect and promote human rights. In a February 27 letter, Mary Maboreke, the secretary of the African Commission on Human and People’s rights told Onyango to provide evidence and arguments to support the complaints.
Maboreke added that the Commission believes the complaints have indications of violations of human rights and asked for evidence to be submitted in two months. The African Commission of Human and People’s rights were established to promote and protect human rights. The Commission works together with the African Court on Human and People’s rights, regional courts created to make judgments on African Union states’ compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
woyelo remains in jail more than three years after being captured by the UPDF in 2009 during a joint military offensive in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In March last year, six judges of the Supreme Court stayed a January order by the constitutional court to Amnesty Commission to grant amnesty to the former rebel commander.
His lawyer says Kwoyelo has continued to suffer agony with uncertainty over when his case can be settled.
Before the International Crimes Division of the High Court ordered that his trial be stopped, Kwoyelo was charged with 53 counts including willful killing of civilians, taking of hostages, extensive destruction of property, causing serious injury to body, and inhumane treatment contrary to the Geneva Conventions. Other charges were murder, attempted murder, kidnap with intent to murder and aggravated robbery.