AN ONLINE CAMPAIGN has been launched to bring the Ugandan alleged war criminal Joseph Kony to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by making him ‘famous’.
A viral film produced by the charity Invisible Children was posted to YouTube on Monday and at the time of writing already has over seven million hits as #StopKony and other similar hashtags trend worldwide on Twitter.
The 30-minute film is also being shared widely on Facebook and other social networks in an attempt to highlight the plight of Ugandan children who have suffered under Kony.
The video details the plight of child soldiers who are forced to fight in Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the attempts by the Invisible Children group to bring Kony to justice.
The charity hopes their campaign will culminate in a day of worldwide action on 20 April to make Kony ‘famous’ and put pressure on political leaders to act:
The Lord’s Resistance Army has terrorised Africa for decades, forcing thousands of children to fight with them. It launched a new spate of attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year.
Kony and three other commanders in the LRA are wanted by the ICC in the Hague with its president Judge Sang-Hyun Song last year expressing concern that the warrant for Kony’s arrest has been outstanding for several years.
While a number of celebrities have endorsed the campaign on Twitter, including rapper Diddy and actress Zooey Deschanel, there has been some scrutiny of the Invisible Children group on the blogosphere.
The Visible Children Tumblr blog has questioned the efforts of Invisible Children and claims that it supports the corrupt Ugandan army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army while raising questions about the group’s finances and how much of its income goes to direct aid.
While an article in Foreign Affairs magazine last November also claimed that organisations such as Invisible Children “manipulated facts for strategic purposes”.
Last October, US president Barack Obama sent 100 combat troops to the west African country to advise forces that are aiming to try and capture Kony and members of the LRA.
At the time, the move was seen by analysts as highly-unusual given it was the first time that US ground forces would be in Africa since the ill-fated ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident in war-torn Somalia in 1993 where 18 US military personnel died.
Invisible Children claims that Obama’s decision was influenced by its campaign.