Uganda Opens First War Crimes Trial

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 6:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Uganda on Monday opened its first war crimes trial of a top rebel commander.

Thomas Kwoyelo, a leader of the notoriously violent Lord's Resistance Army , is facing 53 counts of murder, kidnapping and destruction of property. He has denied the charges.

Kwoyelo was captured in March 2009 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a sweep by regional forces against LRA fighters who had sought refuge there.

The LRA is accused of killing, kidnapping, and mutilating tens of thousands of people across central Africa during a campaign that began in the late 1980s. Its leader, Joseph Kony, is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, called Monday for increased international assistance in the battle against al-Shabaab, the Islamist rebel group seeking to topple Somalia's government.

Mr. Museveni's appeal came on the first anniversary of twin suicide bombings in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, blamed on al-Shabaab. The blasts killed more than 75 people who had gathered to watch the World Cup final.