Acholi Chief Asks ICC To Document Massacre Sites

Rwot David Onen Acana II: he’s asked for support for the Acholi cultural institution to document massacre sites in northern Uganda

Rwot David Onen Acana II, the Acholi Paramount has  asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to help in the documentation of massacre sites in northern Uganda, a region still recovering from two decades of a devastating war.

Rwot David Onen Acana said there is a need to map out sites were massacre victims were buried in unmarked mass graves for the future generation to know what happened.

The Paramount Chief was recently speaking at Churchill Courts Hotel in Gulu during an event in which the Danish government donated equipment. The equipment including TV screen, a set of generator, wireless microphone, a radio set and speakers among others were given to 23 communities in Acholi and Lango sub region, the areas most affected by the conflict between the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and the Ugandan government.

Worth 100,000 Euros (about 420 million Shillings), the equipment is meant for the screening of the trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen who is being tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Rwot Acana ask for support for the Acholi cultural institution to enable it document memorial sites.

The Justice & Reconciliation Project (JRP), a Gulu based NGO which works among conflict-affected communities, says there are ten major massacre sites in Acholi and the Lango sub region which reportedly contain at least 800 bodies of unarmed civilians massacred in cold blood  during the two- decade long war in the region.

According to JRP, in some instances, up to 200 civilians were massacred in just one location. Some of the massacre sites in Acholi and Lango include: Barlonyo and Abia, in Lango, Odek, Burcoro, Parabongo, Lukodi, Atiak and Parabongo in Acholi sub region.

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Gulu District LCV Chairperson who recently visited Rwanda says the memorial sites of the 1994 genocide in the country are well document.

The Danish Ambassador to Uganda, His Excellency Mogens Pedersen said it is important for the events that occurred during the conflict in northern Uganda to be documented.

Maria Mabinty Kamara, the acting head of office for the ICC in Uganda said apart from satellite images for former internally displaced persons camps and where crimes blamed on the LRA have occurred, much has not yet been documented.

Kamara said the images are being used as evidence in the trial against the former Ongwen.