MAY 31, 2010: ICC Itching to Try Kony

ICC Itching to Try Kony
SOURCE: Monitor
By James Eriku
The president of the International Criminal Court, Judge Sang Hyun Song, has said the court that indicted leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army over war crimes is frustrated by the State's failure to arrest the rebel leaders.

Judge Song admitted that it is unnecessarily taking long to have the LRA commanders arrested in spite of the indictment since 2005. "We share the frustrations for continued failure to arrest these LRA commanders," Judge Song said.

The ICC president was interacting with the public who mainly consisted war victims, civil society activists working with the victims and the leadership of Gulu District at the weekend in Gulu Town.

The LRA leaders indicted by the court for war crimes in northern Uganda include Joseph Kony, their leader, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen while the court withdrew the indictment on Raska Lukwiya after confirming that he died in battle.
Judge Song noted that although the court indicted the war crimes suspects, the duty of arresting them lies with the State because the court has no force. "The ICC does not have an arresting force but only rely on the cooperation of forces of the state parties," he said.

He, however, noted that despite the failure to arrest the suspects, there are ongoing efforts to intensify the hunt. Regarding claims that Kony's deputy Otti died, Judge Song said the court would not move to remove his name from the list of indictees untill it has proven the claims.

He said: "Vincent Otti's death must be proven in the court beyond reasonable doubts otherwise the warrant will still stand". He said the ICC's arrest warrant is a lifetime order and those the court has indicted would be arrested and prosecuted so long as they are alive.