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Kwoyelo, Thomas (ICD-002/2010)

Place: International Crimes Division
Case Number: Case No 2 of 2010
Accused: Thomas Kwoyelo alias Latoni, former LRA commander
Civil parties: Victims from Amuru District in Northern Uganda

Summary of the Case : Thomas Kwoyelo is a former colonel of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who allegedly led a series of attacks, between 1993 and 2005, in the Abera Village, the Parubanga Parish, Pabbo Sub country and Kilak county, which are now part of the Amuru District. The attacks resulted in abductions, killings, maiming and the torture of dozens of people, including women and children. In 2011, the Constitutional Court granted Kwoyelo an amnesty certificate, which the Supreme Court overruled in 2015. The case has been pending since 2016 before the International Crimes Division, a domestic court with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity and war crimes in Uganda.

Charges-counts : 93

  • Murder
  • Hostage taking
  • Pillaging
  • Robbery with aggravation
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Cruel treatment
  • Outrages against dignity
  • Enslavement
  • Rape
  • Torture
  • Violence to life and person


16-19.03.2020 – Continuation of trial

The first two days of hearing, the trial was held in closed session, due to the need to protect the witness. An issue regarding the quality of the interpretation was raised by the prosecution and the Court accepted the prosecution’s proposal of providing the assessors assistance in translation. On the third day, the witness examined the day before was cross-examined by the defence. On the last day of the hearing, the Court had to stop the proceeding because of the COVID-19 measures. The hearing was adjourned to March 18th, 2020.

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10-13.03.2020 – Continuation of trial

The trial of the former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Thomas Kwoyelo, resumed before the ICD at Gulu High Court from March 10th to March 13th 2020. This hearing follows an adjournment on January 15th, 2019, after the prosecution had completed incidence ‘C’.

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13-15.01.2020 – Continuation of trial

The trial of the former commander of the Lord’s resistance Army, Thomas Kwoyelo, resumed before the ICD at Gulu High Court from January 13th to January 15th, 2020. This hearing follows an adjournment on December 10th, 2019.

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9-10.12.2019- Continuation of trial

On December 9th and 10th, the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo resumed after two months before the ICD in Kampala. The hearings were again postponed to January due to the ICD’s shortcomings in organising the trial.

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07-10.10.2019 – Continuation of witnesses’ hearings

On October 7th, 2019, the ICD resumed the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo following an adjournment on October 3rd. This report covers three days of court session (October 9th was a public holiday in Uganda), which were all held in camera following an application from the prosecution team.

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30.09.2019 – 03.10.2019 – Resuming of witnesses’ hearings

On 30th September, ICD resumed the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo after a 3-months recess. This reportcovers four days of the trial, (September 30th to October 3rd),which has been scheduled to last for 21 days. Most partwas held in camera, giving rise to a debate on balancing measures of witness protection and the accused’s right to a public trial. The victims are still to participate through their representatives.

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27.03.19 – Bail application

In this hearing, the judge rejected the bail application, weighting the interested of the accused against those of the community and the need to compete the trial in an orderly manner.

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11-14.03.19 – Continuation of trial

The first day of hearing, Kwoyelo requested a transfer of the case to the ICC. The victims lawyer also criticized the lack of facilitation they should be granted. On the second day, the assessors were presented and cross examined and the Prosecution and defence read their statement in front of the Court. On the third day, The expert read his report submitted the day before and was cross examined by the defence. On the last day of the hearing, the Court allowed to hold proceedings in camera in order to protect one of the witness. The hearing was adjourned to 18 March 2019.

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11.03.2019 – Bail application

During this hearing, the defence team presented four sureties to Court. The hearing was adjourned to 20 March 2019 for the judge to give her ruling regarding the application.

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18.01.2019 – Bail application

This hearing was again adjourned to the 4th of February in Gulu due to lack of sureties in Kampala. It will be heard alongside the substantial trial which will commence with opening statements on the same date at 9.00 a.m.

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12-13.11.18 – Plea taking

During this hearing, each individual count was read out by the Registrar of the ICD and then translated into Acholi to the Accused by an official court translator. Kwoyelo pleaded Not Guilty to each and every one of them.

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24-25.09.18 – First trial hearing

Following the pre-trial phase which confirmed the charges against him, Kwoyelo appeared before a trial panel of three judges to determine the final outcome of the case according to the rules of procedure. The case was adjourned to 5 November 2018 in order to translate the indictment and to prepare the defense.

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11.06.18 – Pre-trial hearing

Reversing the Constitutional Court’s initial decision to grant him full amnesty, the Supreme Court of Uganda ordered the retrial of Thomas Kwoyelo on 8 April 2015. After a long wait, the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda held on 11 June 2018 another pre-trial hearing which resulted in an adjournment.

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Début proces

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