ICD Statement on the progress of the Thomas Kwoyelo Trial
This statement made by the International War Crimes Division (ICD) Registry is to notify the public and concerned stakeholders of the activities of the ICD surrounding the trial of Uganda versus Thomas Kwoyelo.
1. The Supreme Court of Uganda ruled on the 08/05/2015 that the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo was constitutional and should continue. The Supreme Court concluded that the Amnesty Act does not grant blanket amnesty to all crimes committed during the rebellion, but only grants amnesty to crimes of a war-like nature (attached is the supreme court judgment).
2. The ICD expects the pre-trial of Uganda versus Thomas Kwoyelo to take place on the 15/08/2016 in Gulu and the trial to take place during October of 2016.
3. Since the decision to continue the trial, the ICD Registry has been conducting outreach programs throughout the Gulu region. The ICD Registry in partnership with the Ugandan Law society and Refugee Law Project is focusing their efforts on engaging with the victims and witnesses (V/W) in order to explain why the trial should take place and what the V/Ws should expect from the process.
4. The ICD rules of procedure and evidence provide for the Ugandan government to offer reparation or compensation to qualifying V/Ws should the trial produce a conviction.
5. The ICD has therefore appointed Counsel for Victims who have been calling for V/Ws to come forward and participate in the trial so as to be included on the victim index which index will be referred to during the reparation exercise.
6. The ICD is currently moving to implement a V/W desk at the court in Gulu in order to centralize information for those concerned and to provide a point of contact for V/Ws.
7. The ICD is investigating the possible use of local radio stations to broadcast important information surrounding the trial to the communities. It is the hope of the ICD that this measure will reduce confusion and demonstrate to the community that the trial is proceeding.
8. The ICD has heard from a number of V/Ws that they have evidence of UPDF soldiers committing atrocities during the conflict. As a result, the ICD has made it clear that if credible evidence was brought against UPDF soldiers or commanders the case would be referred to the UPDF who have proven that they will court martial those who have committed crimes.
9. The ICD is working alongside invested NGOs in the Gulu region to provide the best service to those who have been affected. The ICD invites interested NGOs to submit requests for further information.
10. The ICD invites invested NGOs to explore the possibility of establishing themselves or returning to the Gulu region.
11. The ICD wishes to work alongside NGOs in order to provide the highest level of care and support to those who have been affected by these alleged crimes and to assist with the reconciliation process that this trial is likely to bring about.
Registrar, International Crimes Division
July 26, 2016