Amnesty International is demanding that the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) co-operates with the International Criminal Court (ICC) by providing the whereabouts of Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen to facilitate their arrest and surrender.
In a letter to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Amnesty International expressed its concern that UNMIS were preparing to help return the two men, who are leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), to their native Uganda. Ugandan officials have repeatedly and publicly stated that they will not arrest and surrender the LRA leaders to the ICC.
“UNMIS is bound by the Negotiated Relationship Agreement between the ICC and the UN, which requires that the two bodies cooperate closely with each other,” said Martin Macpherson, Amnesty International’s International Law and Organizations programme. “If UNMIS were to hand the two men over to the Ugandan authorities, the UN would effectively help prevent their arrest and surrender to the ICC and this would amount to an obstruction of justice.”
Amnesty International urges UNMIS immediately to provide the ICC, as well as the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), with all information about the whereabouts of Odhiambo and Ongwen to facilitate their arrest and surrender to the ICC. The same information should be provided to any state that is able and willing to arrest and surrender the suspects to the ICC. The organization also calls on UNMIS not to facilitate the return of the two men to Uganda unless Uganda pledges to arrest them immediately and surrender them to the ICC.
The arrest warrant for Okot Odhiambo lists 10 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enslavement and forced enlisting of children. The arrest warrant against Dominic Ongwen lists seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enslavement and inhumane acts. During 2008 and in the past months of 2009, LRA forces are believed to have abducted hundreds of people including women and children, and committed a number of other human rights violations, including unlawful killings, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, southern Sudan and the Central Africa Republic.