American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court
    Advocating for full US support of the ICC.
    Follow us:

    Uganda Investigation

    The ICC has been investigating the situation in Uganda since July 29, 2004. Uganda, which has been an ICC State Party since August 2002, referred the situation within it territory to the ICC for crimes committed since the entry into force of the Rome Statute on July 1, 2002. After a detailed preliminary examination of the situation, on July 29, 2004 the Prosecutor determined that the conditions required for launching an investigation were satisfied.

    Background of the Conflict

    The conflict began in 1986 when President Yoweri Museveni took power. Around that time, a number of groups formed in the Acholi region, one of them being the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), in response to what they believed to be discrimination against them by the Museveni government. The LRA forces, led by a self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, have been fighting to oust President Museveni and the national army, the Ugandan People's Defense Forces. They claim to be fighting to free the Acholi people of the north by overthrowing the government and installing a system based on the Biblical Ten Commandments. In fact, they have brutalized the Acholi population in northern Uganda as well as Langi and Teso tribes. According to human rights groups, the LRA rebels are responsible for murdering, raping, maiming, torturing and displacing civilians. They are also accused of abducting, indoctrinating and physically and sexually abusing young children. The war has caused thousands of deaths and the displacement of over 1.4 million people in northern Uganda.

    Case: Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen

    Joseph Kony

    Position Alleged Commander-in-Chief of the LRA
    Charges Twelve counts of crimes against humanity (murder, sexual enslavement, rape and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury suffering) and 22 counts of war crimes (murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape and forced enlistment of children)
    Status At large, wanted by the ICC

    Vincent Otti

    Position Alleged Vice-Chairman and Second-in-Command of the LRA
    Charges Eleven counts of crimes against humanity (murder, sexual enslavement and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering) and 21 counts of war crimes (rape, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, forced enlistment of children, cruel treatment of civilians, pillaging and murder)
    Status At large, wanted by the ICC

    Okot Odhiambo

    Position Alleged Deputy Army Commander of the LRA, Brigade Commander of the Trinkle and Stockree Brigades of the LRA
    Charges Two counts of crimes against humanity (murder and enslavement) and eight counts of war crimes (murder, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging and forced enlistment of children)
    Status At large, wanted by the ICC

    Dominic Ongwen

    Position Alleged Brigade Commander of the Sinia Brigade of the LRA
    Charges Three counts of crimes against humanity (murder, enslavement, and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering) and four counts of war crimes (murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population and pillaging)
    Status At large, wanted by the ICC

    Raska Lukwiya

    Position Alleged Deputy Army Commander of the LRA
    Charges One count of crimes against humanity (enslavement) and three counts of war crimes (cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population and pillaging)
    Status Proceedings terminated on July 11, 2007 following confirmation of death


    Summary

    The case against Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen is currently before Pre-Trial Chamber II. In issuing arrest warrant for the Uganda suspects, the Chamber found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that between July 1, 2002 and 2004, the LRA leadership carried out an insurgency against the Government of Uganda and the Ugandan Army. The suspects are alleged to have engaged in a cycle of violence and brutalization of civilians through acts of murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burning of houses and looting of camp settlements. Arrest warrants issued on July 8, 2005 were intially sealed to ensure the safety and well-being of victims, potential witnesses and their families. The warrants were unsealed once the Court made arrangements to implement appropriate measures to protect victims. In addition, the Pre-Trial Chamber determined that the case is admissible, a decision which was affirmed by the Appeals Chamber. Despite an ongoing search by the Government of Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan, the accused remain at large. The case against Lukiwya was terminated upon confirmation of his death.

    Timeline

    May 5, 2005 The Prosecutor requests warrants of arrest for Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.

    July 8, 2005 Pre-Trial Chamber II issues the arrest warrants under seal and requested Uganda to search for, arrest and surrender the suspects to the Court.

    September 27, 2005 Pre-Trial Chamber II requests Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Sudan to search for, arrest, detain and surrender to the Court Kony, Otti, Lukwiya, Odhiambo, and Ongwen.

    October 13, 2005 Pre-Trial Chamber II decides to unseal the warrants of arrest for Kony, Otti, Lukwiya, Odhiambo and Ongwen.

    July 17, 2007 The judges terminate the proceedings against Lukwiya following the confirmation of his death.

    February 28, 2008 Pre Trial Chamber II requests the Government of Uganda to provide information on the implications on the execution of the warrants of arrest of the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation between the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army/Movement, signed on June 29, 2007, and the Annexure to the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation signed between the Government of the Republic of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, signed on February 19, 2008.

    March 27, 2008 The Government of Uganda responds to the Court's request by explaining that the establishment of the high division of the High Court and the enactment of the relevant legislation shall take place after the signing of the final peace agreement and that the special division of the High Court is not meant to supplant the work of the ICC and accordingly those individuals who were indicted by the ICC will have to be brought before the special division of the High Court for trial.

    June 18, 2008 Pre-Trial Chamber II requests further information from Uganda after the reported failure to sign the final peace agreement by the respective parties.

    July 9, 2008 Uganda responds that the comprehensive peace agreement was not signed and that it remained committed to executing the warrants of arrest.

    October 21, 2008 Pre-Trial Chamber II decides to initiate proceedings under Article 19(1) of the Rome Statute to determine whether the Court could still investigate and prosecute the case against the suspects. It also appoints defense counsel for the purpose of these proceedings and invites the Prosecutor, the defense counsel, the Government of Uganda and participating victims to submit their observations on the admissibility of the case.

    March 10, 2009 Pre-Trial Chamber II determines that the case is admissible.

    March 16, 2009 Defense counsel appeals the Pre-Trial Chamber II's admissibility decision.

    September 16, 2009 The Appeals Chamber affirms the admissibility of the case.

    More Resources

    International Criminal Court: