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ICC renews demand for arrest of Uganda rebel leader

[JURIST] Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] must be arrested, a spokesman for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] said Wednesday, a day after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official website; BBC profile] promised Kony conditional amnesty [JURIST report]. The ICC spokesman told the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), the UN's editorially independent humanitarian news agency, that Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo must "give effect" to the ICC warrants [PDF] issued for Kony and four of his lieutenants in the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder] and that "we are confident that they will honor their joint commitment to do so." Article 59 of the ICC's Rome Statute [PDF text], which Uganda signed in 1997 and ratified in 2002, provides that "[a] State Party which has received a request for provisional arrest or for arrest and surrender shall immediately take steps to arrest the person in question in accordance with its laws and the provisions of Part 9."

Museveni stood by his promise of amnesty, conditioned upon Kony's cooperation in upcoming LRA negotiations with the southern Sudanese government and his renouncing terrorist activity. IRIN quoted Museveni as saying that the United Nations does not have the moral authority to demand Kony's arrest because the UN itself has failed to arrest him, even though he is known to be hiding in a jungle in Democratic Republic of Congo's Garamba National Park. Kony and the four others face charges consisting of 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, sexual enslavement and conscription of children. Last week, Kony said in a rare interview that he was "not guilty" of atrocities attributed to him [JURIST report], describing himself as a "freedom fighter" rather than a terrorist. IRIN News has more. Uganda's Daily Monitor has local coverage.

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