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ICD resumes trial against Former LRA leader Kwoyelo

Former LRA Commander, Thomas Kwoyelo in Gulu High Court. (PHOTO/David Okema)

GULU – The hearing of the trial against the former Lords Resistance Army (LRA) Commander Thomas Kwoyelo alias Latoni has resumed on Monday, July 1, 2019. The war-crimes case is before the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Gulu town.

Mr Kwoyelo is being tried on 93 counts of crimes he allegedly committed while still serving as an active Commander in the LRA between 1987 and 2003. These 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 People’scamps and burning them down.

Kwoyelo has been on remand at Luzira Maximum Prison in Kampala since 2015 when his Amnesty application was overturned by the Supreme Court.

The first session of the prosecution phase of the trial started on March 12 and on March 22 the trial was adjourned to June 24, 2019, to allow judges to participate in the Judicial Summit in Kampala. However, the date was shifted to July 1, 2019, by the registry last week, during outreaches.

Kwoyelo being tried on 93 counts of crimes in Gulu. (PHOTO/David Okema)

Defence counsel Charles Dalton Opwonya appealed to Judges to adjourn the session to July 2 because one of their defence lawyer Caleb Alaka is missing in court as he is finalising his academic examination papers. He argues that the defence team wants Counsel Alaka to continue with his submission from where he had stopped in March this year when the trial was adjourned. Counsel Opwonya was accompanied by Boris Anyuru.

The Principal State Prosecutor William Byansi told Court responded with no objection but he says defence team should always be ready to proceed with session even when one of their members is missing because the court setup allows more one defence or prosecutors in the courtroom.

One of the trial Judges, Justice Michael Elubu who chaired the sitting reasons that adjourning court sessions always delays people seeking justice from getting it.

“Whenever the court is always being adjourned, it delays those seeking justice from getting it.” Justice Elubu says. “Please note that we will set up a ground rule whereby one Counsel will lead and one will cross-examine reason being that it is to help the court in case of any gaps.”

The session is adjourned till tomorrow Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 9:00 am.

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