Interpol puts out alerts for war crimes suspects

/ Source: The Associated Press

Interpol has put out alerts calling for the arrest of five Ugandan war crimes suspects wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the international police agency said Thursday.

The suspects include Joseph Kony, the leader of the notoriously cruel and shadowy Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army. Human rights groups allege that group has killed thousands of civilians.

“The Interpol Red Notices are based on arrest warrants issued by the ICC for the men, who are all members of the Lord’s Resistance Army and are accused of a range of offenses, including murder, rape and the forced enlisting of children,” Interpol said in a statement.

Interpol has agreed to cooperate with the Hague-based court, set up in 2002 to prosecute war crimes worldwide. The court has no police force of its own.

The international court, the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, has said it was investigating the LRA, infamous for abducting more than 30,000 children and forcing them to become fighters, porters or concubines.

The group, which appears to have no clear political agenda and little contact with the outside world, has killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 1 million people to flee their homes.

Interpol said Kony is charged with 12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes.

The other four suspects are Raska Lukwiya, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, “who are also accused of war crimes, including intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population,” Interpol said.

Kony, Lukwiya and Odhiambo are believed to be in southern Sudan. Kony’s deputy Otti, recently fled to northeastern Congo. Ongwen was reportedly killed recently by government forces in northeastern Uganda.

An Interpol “red notice” alerts countries that a valid arrest warrant has been put out for a suspect. Although the red notice is not itself an arrest warrant, most governments will act on it to detain a suspect if they can.