Report from The New Vision, Uganda
Monday, 06 September 2010
By Edward Anyoli
A former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Thomas Kwoyelo, has been charged and committed to the War Crimes Court to face trial.
Kwoyelo, 39, appeared before Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Vincent Mugabo, who did not allow him to plead to the charges.
He becomes the first suspect to be charged with offences relating to war crimes.
“This court does not have the jurisdiction to take your plea, it can only explain the offences to you,” Mugabo said.
He was charged with 12 counts, which included willful killing, taking hostages, extensive destruction of property and causing serious body harm. The trial date is yet to be set by the War Crime Court.
Prosecution led by Principal State Attorney Charles Kaamuli said Kwoyelo in March 1993 commanded an attack on Pagak internally displaced people’s camp in northern Uganda in which several people were killed and others were taken hostage.
Court also heard that Kwoyelo and his men destroyed property and injured scores of people in 2004 in northern Uganda.
He allegedly committed the offences between 1996 and 2009 with others still at large in Gulu, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Southern Sudan.