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ICD Engages Stakeholders in Gulu City

The International Crimes Division(ICD) on Tuesday January 23, 2024 held a stakeholders' meeting at Bomah Hotel, Gulu. This comes after other several outreaches held in Pabbo, Lamogi and Pagak sub-counties in Amuru district. 

Hon. Lady Justice Susan Okalany informed the participants that court intends to make a report on the findings, interactions, and opinions from these engagements and share them with the Chief Justice for future planning and strategizing of other out reaches and cases of the Division.

She clarified on the issue of exhuming bodies for proper burial that a court order is needed for them to do so. "While at Pagak camp, some people asked to exhume the bodies of their loved ones in order to give them a decent burial but this needs a court order. Since this case is about to come to an end, we believe the court order shall easily be given, so kindly practice patience for just a few more months."

Hon. Justice Richard Wabwire appreciated the move to make the outreaches and applauded them for actively participating.

"These outreaches have been a result of teamwork of the defense, prosecution teams, and victims' counsel because we believe there are two sides to every story. The accused is innocent until proven guilty, and I believe every team now knows its witnesses," he said.

The Gulu Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Ms Jane Francis Okil thanked the judges for initiating the outreach program; "With such outreach activities, you as judicial officers get to see what is truly on the ground, plus your participation gives members of the communities hope in justice," she said.

The participants at the meeting were two victims of the war; Ms Stella Angel Lanam, representative of War Victims & Children's Networking Organization, and Ms. Amony Evelyn, representative of Women's Advocacy Network as well as well as former wife to LRA leader Joseph Kony. The women talked about their ordeals of the war, how they were abducted, forced into marriage at a young age, early childbirth, and becoming soldiers forcefully. 

They both started their organizations to help fight stigma and provide support to former abductees who have nowhere to turn to. "Thirty-six adults and five children have committed suicide because they have not been welcomed back home and feel abandoned. Our organizations are here to provide a home and counseling for them," Ms Lanam said.

Ms. Amony thanked the ICD Judges for organizing the meeting and also the civil society organizations for their never-ending support. "I appreciate the ICD Judges for this meeting where all parties can share their experiences and challenges and not just hear one side. We also thank the civil society organizations for their financial and emotional support," she said

Ms Amony also talked about her book, I AM EVELYN AMONY which talks about reclaiming her life from the Lordís Resistance Army. A few participants managed to buy copies of her book to assist her get school fees for the coming school term.

In attendance were the defense and prosecution teams, victims' counsel, religious, cultural and civic leaders. 

The meeting was moderated by the ICD Deputy Registrar, HW Juliet Harty Hatanga.

Posted 23rd, January 2024
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