18 October 2005
Secretary-General Welcomes Arrest Warrants, First from International Criminal Court, as "Powerful Signal around World"
Five Leaders of Lord's Resistance Army Accused of Crimes against Humanity in Northern Uganda since July 2002
NEW YORK, 14 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a statement this evening by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General welcomes the issuance of arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against five leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in northern Uganda since July 2002. The warrants, which were unsealed on 13 October 2005, are the first to be issued by the ICC and should send a powerful signal around the world that those responsible for such crimes will be held accountable for their actions.
The Secretary-General calls on all States, particularly those in the region concerned, to extend their full cooperation to the ICC, including by acting expeditiously to execute the arrest warrants against the suspects, while taking seriously their responsibility to protect civilians, particularly women and children.
The Secretary-General condemns the ongoing violence in northern Uganda and calls on all concerned to cease all acts of violence against the civilian population. He hopes that the people of northern Uganda will soon be able to enjoy peace and a return to normalcy, after 19 years of turmoil and despair. He supports all efforts to reach a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The Secretary-General notes that the ICC only intends to prosecute those LRA senior leaders who are alleged to bear the greatest responsibility for the most serious crimes. He therefore urges all eligible LRA combatants to take advantage of existing disarmament and reintegration programmes. He is mindful that many of those associated with the LRA were abducted as children and are therefore victims themselves, in need of assistance.
The Secretary-General calls upon the international community to continue to support efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected civilians in northern Uganda.
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