The International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing difficulties in managing the public’s anticipation as it awaits a confirmation of charges hearing against fugitive warlord Joseph Kony, as stated by a representative of the Hague-based court.
Many individuals who suffered during Kony’s war in northern Uganda have urged the ICC to expedite a reparations order. Anthony Otim from the Uganda Human Rights Commission also questioned whether the Ugandan government could request that war crimes convict Dominic Ongwen serve his 25-year prison sentence in Uganda.
Representatives of those affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), led by Kony, expressed concerns about potential exhaustion and fatigue related to the upcoming hearing while emphasizing the importance of Kony’s arrest. Bonney Odongo, a journalist with the Vision Group, stated, “We want an assurance from the ICC that they are prepared to arrest Kony.”
John Bua Ocen, a victim of the LRA insurgency, added, “If he is eventually arrested, we want him to face trial in Uganda.”
In response, Jimmy Otim, the ICC’s acting field outreach coordinator in Uganda, acknowledged the challenge of managing expectations, stating that “one of the most difficult things in life is to manage expectations.” He clarified that reparations for the Ongwen case would only benefit victims in four specific locations: Abok in Oyam District, Lukodi in Gulu, Odek in Omoro District, and Pajule in Kitgum District.
Jimmy Otim made these remarks during a stakeholders’ meeting in Lira City to provide updates on Ongwen’s case and the pending confirmation of charges against Kony.
In 2022, ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan announced his intention to request that judges confirm charges against Kony. The ICC had issued an arrest warrant for Kony in 2005, accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but he remains at large. Confirming the charges against Kony is seen as a step to expedite his trial in the event of his capture, according to the prosecutor.