The President has no prerogative to forgive rebels who commit crimes against humanity

Tuesday 13th January 2015
State House PPU

There have been various media reports alleging that ICC fugitive Dominic Ongwen, who surrendered to the American Special Forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) had received a Presidential Pardon from President Yoweri Museveni.

In his purported defection audio message dated January 9th, 2015 from Obo, CAR, Dominic Ongwen claims that “Even the President has agreed to forgive me since I surrendered on my own”.

This is to clarify that amnesty is provided to rebel combatants who abandon and/or renounce involvement in war against the state or the Constitution.

President Museveni would only provide pardon through the amnesty if Dominic Ongwen was involved in a rebellion against the State – fighting government soldiers etc and renounced his actions.

Dominic Ongwen was not fighting government. His victims and those of the LRA top commanders were innocent men, women and children, ripped from their homes, schools, communities; killed, maimed and used as sex slaves and fighters in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

The President has no prerogative and does not claim to have it to pardon terrorists who have abused the sanctity of human life.

Ongwen commanded the LRA’s Sinia Brigade which has been blamed for some of the worst atrocities by the LRA including rape, sexual slavery, murder, mutilation etc.

The Amnesty law does not cover rebels involved in crimes against humanity or war crimes and does not apply to LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top commanders who were indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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