No Arrest Warrant Issued Against Acellam, Says International Crimes Court

Justice Moses Mukiibi, former head of the  High Court’s International Crime Division (ICD) flanked by Lady Justice Elizabeth Nahamya during a Press Briefing at Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) media facility in Gulu.  The ICD last week held community meetings in Gulu and Amuru

The International Crimes Division (ICD) a court within the Ugandan judicial system mandated to try international crimes has said there is no arrest warrant against former Lords Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Caesar Acellam.

Ms. Esther Rebecca Nasambu, the acting assistant registrar at ICD said Acellam is a free man.

She was responding to concerns raised by the Retired Northern Uganda Diocese Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng of an alleged warrant of arrest issued against Acellam during a public hearing session at Gulu District Council hall on Friday last week.

The public hearing was part of community outreach programme organized by ICD meant to inform the population about the ICD’s mandate and present progress update to the community on the trial of former LRA rebel commander, Thomas Kwoyelo.

Bishop Onweng during the meeting said he had read reports from a local media outlet that ICD was intending arrest and charge Acellam.

“We heard some troubling news that Acellam is going to be arrested by ICD. If this is true, then it will instill fear among those who are already home and those that are still in captivity,” the retired Bishop pointed out.

Bishop Onono warned that attempts to arrest and charge the former LRA commanders could open an old wound that will be counterproductive the ongoing healing process following the two-decade long conflict in northern Uganda which ended in 2006.

Ms. Nasambu assured the retired Bishop that Acellam is not being sought after by ICD adding that there is absolutely no case currently against him.

Acellam was captured by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces Soldiers along the banks of river Mbou in Central African Republic [CAR] on May 13, 2012 and later granted amnesty by Ugandan government.

The Directorate of Public Prosecution however protested the move saying as a senior rebel commander, he doesn’t qualify to get amnesty.

In 2005, the International Criminal Court indicted LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony and his four commanders Dominic Ongwen, Raska Lukwiya, Vincent Otti and Okot Odhiambo all presumed dead.

Ongwen is the only senior LRA commander indicted currently facing 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at The Hague based ICC in Netherlands.

ICD outreach activity

For five days last week, a team from the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda pitched camp in Gulu and Amuru traversing and conducting community outreach programmes

The team was led by Justice Margaret Oguli Oumo, Head of ICD. They visited Lamogi sub-county, Pagak village and Pabbo sub-county and all scenes were Kwoyelo is alleged to have committed crimes. 

Kwoyelo is being tried at ICD where he is charged with 93 counts of charges relating to murder, pillaging, robbery, Hostage taking and kidnap of civilians between 1995 and 2005.