Court orders pardon for former LRA commander

The Constitutional Court has today directed the state to grant former LRA Commander Thomas Kwoyelo pardon and stop his immediate prosecution.

Kwoyelo went to the court challenging his trial on 53 counts of willful killing, hostage taking, destruction of property and causing injury during the 2decade war by the LRA

Five justices led by Amos Twinomujuni have ruled that the state failed to give convincing reason as to why it has granted amnesty to 26,000 people but denied Kwoyelo the same.

In his petition, Kwoyelo singled out fellow former LRA commanders who have been granted amnesty in similar circumstances and questioned why his application was rejected.

The state however said he only applied for amnesty after the said charges were preferred against him and that he was not remorseful for his actions.

The 5 judges unanimously ruled that there is no reason as to why he should be denied amnesty and have directed that his prosecution be stopped and pardon granted.

Kwoyelo was arrested in March 2009 in Garamba forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a sweep by regional forces against the LRA rebels.

The prosecution accused him of leading several village raids, killing and abducting civilians in Northern Uganda between 1992 and 2005.

The state had argued in its indictment that all attacks by the LRA were either committed by him or were carried out with his full knowledge.

Story by Ruth Anderah