Uganda rebel leader wanted by ICC insists he is "not guilty"

[JURIST] Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] told the Times of London in an interview published Wednesday that he was "not guilty" of atrocities attributed to him, describing himself as a "freedom fighter" rather than a terrorist. Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [MIPT backgrounder; BBC backgrounder] is wanted [warrant, PDF; ICC materials] by the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, sexual enslavement and conscription of children. He was interviewed in a jungle in the Democratic Republic of Congo, surrounded by armed fighters. Kony has recently called for a truce between his rebels and the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile], although he did not explain why in the interview. In recent months, Kony has met with representatives of the southern regional government in Sudan, which wants to mediate the conflict.

The ICC issued Red Notices [press release] for Kony and four other LRA commanders earlier this month, requesting through Interpol [press release] that authorities in 184 countries arrest and detain the men. Museveni has set a deadline of July 31 for Kony to surrender and receive amnesty. Reuters has more. Read the Times' report on the interview. Video of the entire interview is to air Wednesday evening on BBC-TV.



 

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