Crime

WAR VICTIMS DEMAND FOR GOV’T SUPPORT

By Christopher Nyeko

GULU: As the international crime division court continues to hear testimonies from witnesses in the trial against former Lord Resistance Army {LRA} commander Thomas Kwoyelo in Gulu City High Court, the witnesses are pleading to the government to support them financially so as to enhance their livelihood

Thomas Kwoyelo is being tried by the international crime division court on 93 counts of war crime and crime against humanity.

The hearing is being presided over by the three judges of the high court identified as Michael Elubu who is the presiding judge. Other judges are Stephen Mubiru and Duncan Gaswaga.

The accused is being represented by Charles Dalton Opwony of Opwony and company advocates.

At least total of 93 witnesses are set to testify against Thomas Kwoyelo.

During the hearing on Tuesday evening at Gulu High Court, witnesses whose identity were withheld but nicknamed by court as PW26D4 for security safety widow age 48 mother of 7 children resident of Pabo in Amuru district pleaded to the court to put the government in task so that the war victims are supported.

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Witness PW26D4 testified before court that on 19 February 1996 in one of the attacks was led by Thomas Kwoyelo where her husband was abducted and beaten to coma.

“The rebel came to my home, they found me laying in my hut while my husband was sited under granary listening to the radio he was then grabbed and hand tied up at the back then moved away from home, rebel then killed my mother in law then later ordered me to torch my hut and I did”

The witness further told the court that her husband later returned home with a deep cut on his head and revealed to her that he was beaten by the rebel led by Thomas Kwoyello.

‘’I then rushed him to St. Mary hospital for medication but unfortunately did not fully recover and later passed on due to the injuries he sustained,’’ she told court.

She added, ‘’Due to this attack where I lost both of my father and mother in law, I was left with the responsibility of taking care of my seven biological children and nine  children  whose father was abducted and never returned back.’’

‘’We want the government to repatriate us members of the LRA war whose effect of the war cannot vanish from our minds. Due to the hardship cause by economic crisis witness then plead to the government to lay a helping hand and support her family financially,’’ she appealed,

However Stella Lanam, one of the war victims and founder of the Foundation for Justice and Peace Development Initiative, one of the communities based organizations offering training to the former LRA war victims urged the witnesses who are testifying in the court to tell the truth for the betterment of the generation to come.

“Do not go the court and start saying anything but stick to the reality on what you know it did really transpired” she advised

Henry Komakech Kilama, one of the lawyers representing the victim urged the court to consider factors like cultural, social and spiritual experience which the abductees went through in their time at the bush.

Meanwhile the court was adjourned for cross examination of the witness PW26D4 for today 15 June 2022.

Information obtained from the court clerk shows that the proceeding will be happening from Gulu High Court for the next two week.

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