AUGUST 16, 2009: Otunnu Re-Opens Allegations Against Government

Blood on Their Hands

SOURCE: Monitor

By Tabu Butagira & Zoe Richards

Kampala — The former UN under secretary-general for children in armed conflict, Dr Olara Otunnu, has rattled authorities in Kampala, announcing he has gathered substantial evidence to incriminate President Yoweri Museveni's government on charges of attempting to wipe out the northerners.

Dr Otunnu, who is expected to return to Uganda on Saturday, told the BBC Network Africa programme in an interview on Wednesday that the national army, UPDF, during its military offensive against Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, committed "atrocities, other human rights abuses and genocide in northern Uganda."

"This is a matter of public record. I will produce all the evidence that testifies to those crimes and I will produce them in public," Dr Otunnu said, dismissing suggestions he was risking possible prosecution for maligning the ruling National Resistance Movement government.

This latest in a series of charges by Dr Otunnu is the most specific threat yet and will leave the government in a delicate position: either force the matter by going to court where the claims could be verified or otherwise, or challenge its accuser to provide evidence out of court.

What Dr Otunnu's persistence will no doubt do is resurrect long-held suspicions of a diabolical plot to annihilate the populations of northern and far eastern Uganda which views were touted as the reasons that provoked the various insurgencies that wracked those parts of the country...

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