Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

23 September 2011

Uganda’s amnesty for LRA commander a ‘setback’ for justice

Uganda’s amnesty for LRA commander a ‘setback’ for justice

A Ugandan court’s decision to order the release of a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is a huge setback in delivering justice to victims of human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

Ending the country’s first war crimes trial, a five-judge panel ruled that Thomas Kwoyelo was entitled to amnesty for any crimes he committed during the conflict, in which 30,000 people died and some two million were displaced. Thomas Kwoyelo had been charged with 53 counts of murder and other crimes.

“The court’s decision is yet another nail in the coffin of the right to justice for the thousands who have suffered at the hands of the LRA,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

“What we are witnessing here is simply pervasive impunity for serious crimes and human rights violations. It is high time Uganda carried out an independent investigation into all crimes committed during the 20-year conflict. Neither Thomas Kwoyelo, nor others accused of committing war crimes should be granted amnesty,” she said.

Thomas Kwoyelo was charged with murder, wilful killing, kidnap with intent to kill, aggravated robbery and destruction of property and other offences during an attack he allegedly commanded in northern Uganda’s Amuru district during the conflict that began in 1986. He has denied the charges.

Thousands of former LRA soldiers have benefited from Uganda’s Amnesty Act of 2000. The act itself goes against Uganda’s obligation not to grant amnesty to those suspected of crimes under international law, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International and other organisations have documented widespread human rights violations throughout the conflict in northern Uganda.

There have been only a handful of investigations and prosecutions of members of the armed forces for crimes against civilians. In most cases, these were conducted before a deeply flawed military justice system which violated the accused individuals’ right to a fair trial, and in a number of cases imposed the death penalty.

Read More

Court’s decision a setback for accountability for crimes committed in northern Uganda conflict (23 September 2011)
Uganda: A nine point human rights agenda (10 May 2011)

Issue

Armed Conflict 
Armed Groups 
Crimes Against Humanity And War Crimes 

Country

Uganda 

Region

Africa 

Campaigns

International Justice 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

24 November 2014

A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and... Read more »

28 November 2014

The State of Texas should immediately halt its shameful plans to execute a man with severe mental illness, said Amnesty International with the scheduled execution now less than... Read more »

28 November 2014

Hong Kong’s police chief must urgently stamp out any arbitrary and excessive use of force by police officers, with thousands of pro-democracy protesters... Read more »

27 November 2014

Raymond Gûreme experienced years of abuse at the hands of the Nazis in France for being a Traveller. Now, seven decades later, he lives like many... Read more »

27 November 2014

The Egyptian authorities must halt the arbitrary demolition of hundreds of homes and mass forced evictions under way in Rafah, North Sinai in order to create a buffer zone... Read more »