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Tánaiste is 'greatly concerned' that Joseph Kony remains at large

The African Union has said it will step up the hunt for the Ugandan rebel leader and his men.

File photo, 2006
File photo, 2006
Image: STR/AP/Press Association Images

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has said that Ireland strongly supports the International Criminal Court as it seeks to bring Ugandan war lord Joseph Kony to justice.

Speaking in the Dáil this week, Gilmore said he is “greatly concerned” that Kony and his collaborators remain “at large” in Central Africa and have yet to be held to account for the atrocities which his so-called Lord’s Resistance Army were responsible for.

Recent publicity, specifically a viral video campaign by Invisible Children, has raised public awareness of the appalling violence reportedly carried out over two decades in Uganda.

In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Kony’s arrest on 33 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

“Ireland, both directly and as a member of the European Union, provides ongoing support, including funding, for the Court and for its work. This year, our contribution towards the running costs of the Court will amount to some €800,000,” said Gilmore.

Responding to questions from TDs Finian McGrath and Michael Creed, the Minister also detailed the aid provided to Uganda. Ireland, through Irish Aid, will commit some €22.5 million funding to the African country between 2010 and 2014.

Meanwhile, the African Union has said it will ramp up the coordination of regional armies in their search for Kony’s LRA, sending in 5,000 soldiers to join the hunt for the rebel leader.

His fellow rebels are now believed to be in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The mission will begin in South Sudan on Saturday. Kony, himself, is believed to be hiding out in the Central African Republic.

The US government has already provided a number of military personnel to advise and assist national armies to end the scourge of LRA violence in these countries. President Barack Obama deployed 100 US forces last year for this purpose.

Uganda’s Prime Minister has said the country is no longer in conflict, and later this month, the United Nations will convene a meeting there to finalise the region’s peacebuilding strategy to combat the activities of the LRA.

The UN believes Kony’s army was involved in the recruitment of children, rapes, killing and maiming and sexual slavery. Current estimates suggest that about 500 men are operating under the leadership of Kony. However, their capacity to attack, terrorise and harm local communities remains.

The African Union also believes the LRA is responsible for 2,600 civilian deaths since 2008.

Read: Online campaign aims to make accused war criminal Joseph Kony ‘famous’>

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