Survivors of the LRA rebel led insurgency in Pabbo Sub County in Amuru District have appealed to officials of the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda to allow them exhume bodies their dead relatives.
The victims were killed during the over two decades’ long insurgency in northern Uganda.
Their bodies were later buried in camps meant for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) scattered across Amuru District.
The killings were blamed on Thomas Kwoyelo, the LRA Commander facing trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Kwoyelo is facing trials on 78 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity before the ICD he allegedly committed between 1992 and 2005 in Kilak County in the present-day Amuru district.
Prosecution states that the LRA at the time under the alleged command of Kwoyelo raided Pagak IDP camp in Abera Village and Pabbo IDP Camp resulting in brutal killings, torture, abduction, and maiming.
Some of the victims of the attacks were buried in the IDP camps and their remains are still stuck in graves within the former camps in Lamogi and Pabbo Sub-counties to date.
Over the weekend, relatives of the victims of the alleged attack complained that the delayed trial of Kwoyelo and others at large had affected the relocation of the remains of their relatives for decent reburials at their ancestral homes.
This was raised during outreach meetings in Pabbo and Lamogi Sub counties in Amuru district held with the community members and a team from the International Crimes Division of the High Court. The team comprised judges, defense and victims’ lawyers, prosecutors, and the Deputy Registrar of the ICD Juliet Harty Hatanga.
Denis Lemoi, a former Commandant of the Pagak Camp said relatives of those killed in the alleged attacks have waited for years for the conclusion of the case and feel it is time to relocate their bodies for proper burials.
Now, their relatives wants to exhume and rebury them in their originals villages.
Juliet Hatanga, the Deputy Registrar of International Crimes Division of the High Court (ICD), however said the graves should not be tampered with since they are scenes of crimes in the Kwoyelo’s trial.
She called for patience among the victims of the killings blamed on LRA, saying the trial will be concluded soon. She also asked relatives of the victims to apply to court so that they can be allowed to exhume the bodies for decent burials.
Last week, Kwoyelo’s defence lawyer Caleb Alaka told the court that their client intends to present up to 50 defense witnesses in court.
The defense team on Monday commenced interviewing witnesses from Paboo, Lamogi, and Parubanga Sub-counties in Amuru district, an activity that will end on February 27th.
Kwoyelo is expected to return in court on February 19 for mention of his case. He is the first senior LRA Commander facing trial at the ICD, a special Division of the High Court of Uganda established in 2008.