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Former LRA commander Kwoyelo pleads not guilty to 93 charges against him

Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander, Mr Thomas Kwoyelo alias Latoni with his lawyer Mr Oponya. He has Monday November 12 pleaded not guilty to the 93 counts he allegedly committed 10 years ago(FILE PHOTO)

GULU – Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander, Mr Thomas Kwoyelo alias Latoni has today pleaded not guilty to the 93 counts he allegedly committed 10 years ago.

Kwoyelo appeared before a panel of three justices at the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court in Gulu to have his charges formally read to him. However, he denied all counts.

“I have heard all the charges read out to me, but I did not commit any of them, I do not know anything to do with them,” Kwoyelo responded through a Luo interpreter.

The three justices include; Jane Kigundu, Duncan Gaswaga, and Michael Elubu.

The 93 counts include; murder, hostage-taking, kidnap with intent to murder, pillaging, aggravated robbery, cruel treatment, violation of personal dignity, torture, and rape, among others.

According to the charge sheet that was read to out by the ICD registrar Harriet Ssali , Kwoyelo and others still at large in March 1993 or thereabouts at Abera village in Parubanga parish, Pabbo sub-county Kilak County in present-day Amuru district being a colonel in the LRA commanded an attack on civilians taking no active part in hostilities and killed Albert Obwoya.

It is also stated that Kwoyelo and others still at large on September 4th, 1994 at Abera Village, Prubanga Pariah, Pabbo Sub-county in Gulu District commanded an attack on civilians taking no active part in hostilities, seized and kidnapped civilians.

However, Kwoyelo through his lawyer Caleb Alaka had objected to the continuation of reading the charges citing that there was no disclosure made in regard to the civilians who are alleged to have been kidnapped by the accused (Kwoyelo) in 1994 thus he cannot identify them as C19.

This after Ms Ssaali read out coded names as C1, C4, C5, C6, C7, C19 and C20 instead of real names in the fourth charges that relate to hostage taking and Kidnap of civilians.

However, prosecution led by Mr William Byansi told court that the coding of the witnesses was in accordance with rule 22, 3 of the ICD rules that put the restriction on disclosure which is the best way to protect some of the most vulnerable witnesses.

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