Uganda Opens Country’s First War Crimes Trial

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 11:50 am (UTC-5)
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Uganda has opened its first war crimes trial with a case against a leader of the notoriously violent Lord's Resistance Army rebel group.

The trial against Thomas Kwoyelo began at Uganda's International War Crimes Division under tight security in the town of Gulu Monday.

Kwoyelo is charged with 53 counts of willful killing, hostage taking, destruction of property and causing injury. He has denied all the charges.

Kwoyelo was captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2009 during a push by regional forces to round up LRA fighters.

The LRA is accused of killing, kidnapping, and mutilating tens of thousands of people across central Africa since the late 1980's.

The rebels, who fought the Ugandan government for years, now operate mostly in small groups, attacking and looting villages across the region.

Last month, 39 aid groups warned that the LRA continues to terrorize communities in Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Three LRA leaders — Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen — are wanted by the International Criminal court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.