Thomas Kwoyelo

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Richard Buteera has declined a request to grant a certificate of amnesty to former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Thomas Kwoyelo.

“This office maintains the position that under the principles of international law, no amnesty can be granted to persons accused of committing war crimes under the Geneva Convention. The war crimes he is charged with include killings and infliction of grave injuries,” states a press release from the DPP’s office.

DPP spokesperson Jane Okuo said the office was liaising with the Attorney General to appeal against the High Court ruling.

Okuo said the Directorate of Public Prosecution was not satisfied with the January 25 court ruling in which Justice Vincent Zehurikize ordered the release of Kwoyelo.

On November 23 2011, Kwoyelo asked to be granted Amnesty. In a ruling, the War Crimes Court was ordered to cease the trial of Kwoyelo in relation to the charges he is facing. The trial has since stopped, but Kwoyelo is still in Luzira Prison.

Kwoyelo’s lawyers had argued that the DPP and the commission defied the Constitutional Court. But Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi objected, saying the commission acted in consultation with the DPP who said Kwoyelo was not eligible for amnesty because he has pending criminal charges.

Kwoyelo is facing over 53 charges of murder, wilful killing, kidnap with intent to kill, aggravated robbery, and destruction of property. He was captured by the UPDF in March 2009.

By Edward Anyoli, The New Vision

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