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Ocampo backs ‘story- telling’ for LRA victims

The former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said he supports the new campaign to protect and promote healing efforts to end the misery of victims of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he fully supported story telling among Kony’s victims as a means of healing, now being pushed by Acholi leaders.

“This is a very crucial idea to see how we can capture individual stories from people. Everyone is now a victim of the conflict in his/her own way and people need justice to prevail,” he said.

Moreno-Ocampo made the remarks on Sunday at Boma hotel in Gulu, where he was invited by the NGO Invisible Children to visit LRA victims in the region. Speaking at his residence in Bardege division, the Acholi paramount chief, Rwot David Onen Acana II, said his people were still at loggerheads with one another yet their grudges could be easily resolved.

“The centre of conflict started with us. We should admit that some steps were missed to dialogue with the people to know the background of the matter,” Acana said.

He added that storytelling would help the national healing process.

“We don’t need to live with the effects of Kony all the time. Everybody who was affected has to get final peace during the exercise,” he noted.

Acana said much as the guns had now gone silent in Gulu, memories of the atrocious crimes against humanity by LRA remained in the minds of the many. He, however, commended Moreno-Ocampo’s efforts in fighting the LRA, and asked him to make the storytelling exercise happen as soon as possible, along with supporting the education system of Gulu.

Kony was indicted on July 8, 2005 by the Hague-based ICC on 12 counts of crimes against humanity and 21 counts of war crimes with regard to the situation in northern Uganda. But Rwot Onywelo, an Acholi leader, told Moreno-Ocampo that the Acholi people believed in a mato oput system of dialoguing and forgiving as a way of resolving conflict.

“Even if Kony is taken to the ICC, he has to return to the traditional court and ask for forgiveness before the Acholi people,” Onywelo said.


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