ICC Prosecutor Requests Hearing on Confirmation of Charges against Kony in his Absence

ICC Prosecutor Requests Hearing on Confirmation of Charges against Kony in his Absence
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25-11-2022

Alice Versini-O’Donnell 

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

On November 24th, 2022, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan filed a request seeking authorisation to hold a hearing on the confirmation of charges against Joseph Kony in his absence. This is the first time that the Office of the Prosecutor has made such a request. The investigation into the situation in Uganda opened in 2004 with an arrest warrant being issued in 2005 against Kony, the founder and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, for 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This warrant remains unexecuted as Kony has evaded judicial proceedings at the ICC for over 17 years. 

The request for a hearing in absentia was filed pursuant to Article 61(2)(b) of the Rome Statute and Rules 123 and 125 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and is considered by the Prosecutor to be justified and appropriate, as it would “guarantee lasting respect for and enforcement of international criminal justice”. Furthermore, it is “likely to galvanise efforts to locate and apprehend Mr Kony […] and help ensure that Mr Kony faces trial expeditiously upon arrest or surrender […]”. Holding a confirmation hearing would also “provide an opportunity for victims in this case to present their views and concerns […]”. [1] 

Notes: 

[1] International Criminal Court, Pre-Trial Chamber II ‘Situation in Uganda, The Prosecutor v Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti - Public Redacted Version of the “Prosecution’s Request to Hold a Hearing on the Confirmation of Charges against Joseph Kony in his Absence” (24 November 2022) ICC-02/04-01/05. 

Sources and further reading: 

International Criminal Court, ‘Statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim A.A. Khan KC: Request to hold hearing on confirmation of charges against Joseph Kony in his absence’ (24 November 2022) <https://www.icc-cpi.int/news/statement-prosecutor-international-criminal-court-karim-aa-khan-kc-request-hold-hearing> accessed 25 November 2022.  

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (adopted 17 July 1998, entered into force 1 July 2002) 2187 UNTS 3. 

International Criminal Court, Rules of Procedure and Evidence (2002) ICC-ASP/1/3 and Corr.1.