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LRA Massacre Survivor Wants Blanket Amnesty Removed

A survivor of the 2004 massacre at Barlonyo in Lira district wants the blanket amnesty given to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels removed.
A survivor of the 2004 massacre at Barlonyo in Lira district wants the blanket amnesty given to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels removed.

Moses Ogwang 46, from Barlonyo Village, Adwa Parish in Oguru Sub County says the LRA commanders who joined the rebellion by their own will and choice should face trial because it hurts the victims when they see individuals who committed heinous crimes walking scot-free.

Ogwang says he would want to see individuals that perpetrated crimes against humanity while in LRA made to account for their actions.

 

In about two hours on February 21st 2004, over 300 people in the Barlonyo Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp were brutally murdered by the LRA rebels.

LRA is accused of several other atrocities in Northern Uganda including killing, miming, and abductions between 1987 and 2005.

But under the amnesty deal, perpetrators are entitled to receive a blanket amnesty if they abandon rebel activity. Indeed, some of the top commanders of the LRA, including Brigadiers Kenneth Banya and Sam Kolo have benefited from the amnesty. Another commander, Col Thomas Kwoyelo is challenging his trial for war crimes arguing that he should also be given amnesty.

The coordinator Refugee Law Project Levis Onegi notes that the rampant complaints on most of these policies passed comes because they are passed with very limited consultation of the public.

Onegi says if the LRA war victims were consulted they could own this Amnesty law as it is without feeling bad about the blanket nature.

He challenges MPs and councilors to always seek the views of their electorate before passing any law.

This issue came up at a discussion at the Kitgum Peace Documentation Centre where Refugee Law Project Uganda in collaboration with African Transitional Justice Network is holding a week-long course under the theme “Memories and Demoralization as a Transitional Justice Mechanism in Africa: whose memory counts and at what cost.”

The discussion has drawn regional speakers and experts from all over Africa.

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