January 13, 2015

No Amnesty for LRA’s Dominic Ongwen

Former rebel commander Dominic Ongwen will not be granted amnesty despite claims by the former Lord’s Resistance Army leader that he had been granted Amnesty by President Museveni.

Dominic Ongwen
Dominic Ongwen

Ongwen is one of the top five Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity and therefore, he does not qualify for amnesty as per the law.

Amnesty commission spokesperson Moses Draku however said that the Amnesty Commission had not received any application from Dominic Ongwen but even if he did, he does not qualify for amnesty due to his indictment by the ICC.

The former commander is reported to have told a community radio in Central African Republic, that he had been granted amnesty by President Yoweri Museveni.

Speaking in his native dialect, Acholi, Ongwen also calls on the other rebels to denounce war.

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces has challenged the authenticity of the one -minute recording, in which, a man claiming to be the former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen stated that he had been granted amnesty.

Ongwen who surrendered to the Seleka rebels a week ago, and was later handed over to US authorities in Central African Republic, is currently under the UPDF custody and plans are underway to fly him to Uganda.

Army Spokesperson Lt Col. Paddy Ankunda confirmed that Ongwen, who is currently in the UPDF custody, has not processed any papers for amnesty. Ankunda adds that only the Amnesty Commission can grant Ongwen amnesty and not the President.

Other top LRA commanders charged by ICC for their contribution to the war in Northern Uganda  and do not qualify for amnesty as per the Amnesty Act are; LRA top leader Joseph Kony and his deputy Okot Odhiambo.

Indictees Vincent Otti and Raska Lukwiya are dead.

Many of the LRA commanders who have been either captured or surrendered in the past,  have been persuaded to record messages in which, they call on those fighting to abandon rebellion and return home. They messages assures the fighters of amnesty and lofty resettlement packages.

Former Commanders like Kenneth Banya, Sam Kolo and Onen Kamudul who were earlier captured by the UPDF, have also sent out similar messages and granted amnesty. Only Ceaser Acellam is yet to get amnesty.

A total of 13,000 LRA rebels have benefited from amnesty.

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