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ICC prosecutor predicts Kony will be arrested this year

International Criminal Court [official website] Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] told the Associated Press on Friday that he is certain that fugitive Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony [BBC backgrounder] will be arrested this year [AP report]. Moreno-Ocampo pointed to the amount of publicity surrounding the recent campaign by Invisible Children [advocacy website] to capture Kony as evidence that people around the world have taken a stronger interest in human rights issues than in the past. The ICC Prosecutor cited several other reasons to support the idea that Kony will be brought to justice, including Uganda's renewed commitment to finding Kony, the Central African Republic allowing Ugandan troops to operate there and the US commitment of 100 military advisers to help with logistics. Moreno-Ocampo also said that he sees the success of the movement to catch Kony as hope that the world is becoming more interested in pursuing justice against all alleged human rights offenders, such as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [ICC materials; JURIST news archive] and Congo militia leader Thomas Lubanga [ICC materials; JURIST news archive]. The ICC issued arrest warrants for Kony and four of his senior commanders in July 2005.

Since the Invisible Children campaign became popular, the international community has shown increased commitment [JURIST report] to catching Kony, who is wanted by the ICC for 12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 war crimes [ICC arrest warrant, PDF], including murder, rape, mutilation and the forced enlistment of child soldiers. Last month the US House of Representatives proposed legislation [JURIST report] to support and protect Uganda through increased military presence and support in expanding its telecommunications system. In 2009 the ICC said that it was still looking for him [JURIST report]. Kony has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the allegations against him. Despite ICC calls for global cooperation [JURIST report] to execute the arrest warrant, Kony has remained at large.

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