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ICC Calls For New Efforts To Arrest Ugandan Rebels

International Criminal Court Calls For New Efforts To Arrest Ugandan Rebels

New York, Oct 6 2008 12:10PM

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today called for renewed international efforts to arrest the top leaders of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) after a series of recent attacks in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in which dozens of civilians have been killed, scores of schoolchildren abducted and tens of thousands displaced.

ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he had collected information indicating that at the end of 2007 LRA leader Joseph Kony issued orders to abduct 1,000 persons to expand his forces.

“Kony is now implementing his plan,” the ICC prosecutor’s office said in a news release, noting that in 2005, it issued arrest warrants for Mr. Kony and two other LRA leaders, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen. The LRA has fought a civil war with the Ugandan Government since the mid-1980s, during which it became notorious for abducting as many as 25,000 children to use as fighters and porters.

Mr. Moreno-Ocampo accused Mr. Kony of using recent peace talks, “just as he has many times in the past,” to gain time to rearm and attack again.

“The price paid today by civilians is high. The criminals remain at large and continue to commit crimes and they are threatening the entire region. Arrest is long overdue,” the ICC said, referring to reported LRA attacks last month against DRC villages in the Dungu area.

“These attacks all follow a similar method with markets surrounded and looted, students abducted from school, properties burned and dozens of civilians killed, including several local chiefs. Tens of thousands have now been displaced,” it added, urging all actors, including regional and international organizations, to work together with the DRC and Uganda to secure the arrests.

ENDS

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