Otti Arrest Won’t Be Dropped Unless DNA Sample is Got, Says ICC
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said unless the body of the former Deputy Commander-in- Chief of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel, Vincent Otti is produced, the arrest warrant issued against him will not be dropped.
Reports indicate that Vincent Otti was executed on October 2, 2007 on the orders of Joseph Kony, the LRA Chief, after the two men disagreed over the failed 2006 Juba Peace Talks.
Reports say Otti was executed by firing squad after being tied on the stump of a tree outside Kony’s base inside Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
On July 8, 2005, the ICC issued arrest warrants against five of the top LRA commanders including the LRA’s Chief Joseph Kony for their alleged roles in the violent campaigns against the civilian population majorly in northern Uganda.
Otti faces 33 counts of crimes against humanity in violation of the Rome Statute.
Answering questions from journalists during a recent media engagement in Kampala, Phakiso Mochokochoko, the ICC Director Jurisdiction, Complementary and Cooperation Division said unless there is forensic evidence of Otti’s death, the arrest warrant against him will still stand.
Mochokochoko explained that as ICC, they need Otti’s body so that DNA tests can be conducted to prove that he is dead. He said the court cannot rely on rumours.
The ICC says there is no time frame when the arrest warrant against Otti will be dropped.
Out the five LRA commanders wanted on war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is only Dominic Ongwen who has been taken into custody at the ICC after he defected in 2015.
Ongwen is facing seventy charges for his role in abduction, enslavement and sexual slavery among others.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Uganda, Hen Jan Baker, said the creation of the ICC should send signals to those committing heinous crimes that impunity has no place in the world.
Baker warned that suspects in international crimes can run but they will in the end be got.
LRA is blamed for widespread atrocities against civilian population in northern Uganda, South Sudan, DRC and the Central African Republic (CAR).