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Campaign to arrest Uganda war criminal Kony: ICC supports while AI cautions

International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] expressed his support [BBC news report] on Thursday for a campaign by Invisible Children [advocacy website] to capture alleged Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. However, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] cautioned [press release] Friday that "[a]nyone joining the Kony 2012 campaign should insist that efforts to arrest Joseph Kony must respect human rights. It is also vital to make sure that any action ensures the protection of civilians in the surrounding areas." The Kony 2012 campaign initiative is a viral video by Invisible Children that calls for an international effort to arrest Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder], so he may be prosecuted by the ICC:

Ocampo appears in the video and commended Invisible Children for energizing public support. AI has stressed that the arrest of Kony should be in respect to the international human rights. It further cautioned that any effort of an arrest might endanger civilians where LRA is present: "It is important to remember that many of LRA members were themselves victims of human rights violations including forcible recruitment. Forces pursuing the LRA must seek to arrest the suspects in accordance with international law."

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 [JURIST report] Kony. He pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the allegations against him. Despite ICC's calling for global cooperation [JURIST report] after issuing the warrant to arrest Kony, he has remained at large.

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