AI Index: AFR 59/008/2007 (Public)
Date: November 2007
Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti,
Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen
1. The armed conflict in northern Uganda
An armed conflict between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been going on since 1987. About two million people have fled their homes because of the conflict. As of May 2007, about 1.6 million people remained in camps for internally displaced. Jan Egeland, former United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called the conflict in northern Uganda "the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today" (AFP, 11 November 2003).
Tens of thousands have been killed, abducted, enslaved and raped. Members of both the government forces and the LRA have been responsible for grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The vast majority of the LRA fighters are believed to be abducted children, brainwashed and forced into fighting. Abducted girls have been raped, distributed among commanders and used as sexual slaves.
The atrocities continued until 2005-2006. On 26 August 2006 Ugandan officials and LRA representatives signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Juba, Southern Sudan. Peace negotiations are continuing as of 1 November 2007.
2. Referral by the government of Uganda
In December 2003 the government of Uganda referred "the situation concerning the LRA" to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC Prosecutor declared that his office would study both crimes committed by the LRA and crimes committed by the Ugandan governmental forces, selecting the cases according to their gravity.