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Court Confirms 93 Charges against Thomas Kwoyelo :: Uganda Radionetwork

Court Confirms 93 Charges against Thomas Kwoyelo

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The International Crimes Division of the High court has confirmed 93 charges against former Lords Resistance Army Commander Thomas Kwoyelo
Thomas Kwoyelo , the Accused

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The International Crimes Division of the High court has confirmed 93 charges against Thomas Kwoyelo, a former Lord's Resistance Army-LRA Commander.

Justice Susan Okalany of the ICD ruled that she carefully examined the charges and disclosed the evidence is sufficient enough to sustain 93 charges against Kyoyelo at the trial.

The confirmed charges include crimes against humanity which constitutes murder, rape, enslavement, torture, imprisonment and other inhumane acts such as hostage-taking and waging attacks on internally displaced camps and burning them down.

Prosecution alleges that in order to further the LRA plan, Kwoyelo wilfully commanded systematic attacks on civilians who were taking no part in an armed rebellion and subjected them to hostilities simply because they were believed to be supporting the government of Uganda.

According to the examined evidence, Kwoyelo who is a born of the present day Amuru district in Northern Uganda got enlisted in the LRA group and underwent through Military training to rise through the ranks before establishing his base at Kilak hills from where he would command attacks on civilians notably in the years of 1987, 1993, 1996 and 2003.

In these incidents prosecution says  Kwoyelo would use axes, cabs and guns to attack and take hostage residents from his place of birth who would be collecting firewood, attending rituals and would be discovered dead the following day with their hands tied behind their backs.

Evidence also shows that Kwoyelo would rape women and girls, make them carry loot for the LRA and kill the sick and elderly who were considered to be of no purpose to the LRA. 

Prosecution has mostly relied on eyewitness counts who knew and identified  Kwoyelo as a born of Kilak sub-county, evidence from survivors and victims, post-mortem reports, filed police and medical reports, and newspaper articles to prove that there is sufficient evidence to sustain charges at trial against Kwoyelo.

They will also use pictures of deceased and their graves and reportedly the sketchy plans of the scenes of crimes. 

Kwoyelo will face trial before a panel of three justices at Gulu High court to hear the evidence.

Kwoyelo's lawyer Charles Dalton Opwonya said that they are dissatisfied with the confirmation of charges since the pre-trial conference was concluded without marking the exhibits.

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He also noted that the charges were not translated to the suspect.

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The Pre-trial conference had hit a snag due to the absence of his other lawyers like Caleb Alaka and Evans Ochieng and due to lack of funds.

Kweyolo was captured in the forests of Central African Republic in 2008 by the Uganda People's Defense Forces-UPDF and since then he has been on remand at Luzira Maximum prison because a number of issues could come up leading to failure of court to confirm his charges.

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