[JURIST] Two members of the US House of Representatives [official website] introduced legislation [HR 583 text] on Thursday aimed at protecting Ugandan citizens from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder] led by alleged Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The legislation calls for the expansion of the telecommunications infrastructure in Uganda, as well as an increase in the presence of military forces in the region. House members Jim McGovern (D) and Ed Royce (R) [official websites] introduced the bipartisan legislation after the Kony 2012 campaign initiative, a viral video by Invisible Children [advocacy website] that calls for an international effort to arrest Kony, sparked international interest in Kony’s apprehension. Last year, McGovern and Royce introduced the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act [text] which made it the official policy of the US to stop Kony and his commanders. That legislation was signed into law last year and resulted in the deployment of a small group of military advisers to the region to assist in finding Kony.
The Kony 2012 campaign has renewed interest in the search for the alleged Ugandan war criminal. Last week, International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] expressed his support [JURIST report] for the campaign by Invisible Children to capture Kony. The ICC issued an arrest warrant [text, PDF] against Kony in 2005 on 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, sexual enslavement, rape and abduction. In 2009, ICC stated that it is still seeking to arrest Kony [JURIST report]. He has denied the allegations [JURIST report] against him. Despite ICC’s calling for global cooperation [JURIST report] after issuing the warrant to arrest Kony, he has remained at large.