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International Criminal Court; Uganda: Venue Determination for LRA Trials

(Mar. 18, 2009) On March 10, 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a statement in which it maintained that it is the ICC's mandate and not that of the Ugandan government to make a determination on venue for the trials of Lord Resistance Army (LRA) chief Joseph Kony and his top aides, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen. The statement indicated that the Ugandan government plan to have the fugitives tried before a special division of the Ugandan High Court has failed due to the lack of a final peace agreement and the ongoing offensive against the LRA in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It stated that it is premature and inappropriate to insinuate that the agreement to try the fugitives in Uganda will be revived once hostilities cease and a final agreement is signed. (Henry Mukasa, Govt Has No Power to Try Top LRA Commanders-ICC, THE NEW VISION, Mar. 11, 2009, available at

Although the Ugandan government and the LRA reached an understanding that Kony and his aides would be tried in Uganda during their Juba Peace talks, the accord fell apart when Kony refused to sign the final agreement. A joint military operation by the Ugandan, Sudanese, and Congolese forces was then launched to crush the LRA forces. (Id.; see also Peace Agreement Shields Some from International Prosecution, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR, Mar. 2, 2008, available at