The International Crimes Division of the High Court has issued a production warrant, directing Luzira Prisons officials to present the remanded former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Thomas Kwoyelo, before the court’s deputy registrar. Scheduled for January 12, 2024, at 9 am, the court appearance aims to facilitate a meeting between Kwoyelo and his defense lawyers, led by Caleb Alaka, who seek a quiet environment for discussions related to the upcoming main trial.
The warrant, seen by this publication, states, “You are hereby directed to produce the above-mentioned accused person before this honourable court sitting at the international crimes division of the High Court in Kampala on the 12th of January, 2024 at 9 am before her worship Juliet Hatanga.”
Sources familiar with the matter revealed that Kwoyelo’s defense team wishes to discuss his defense strategy and preparations for the main trial in a more conducive setting than the prison environment allows.
In the upcoming week, court officials, members of the defense team, and representatives from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office are expected to travel to Gulu, the location where Kwoyelo allegedly committed the crimes. This visit aims to explain the implications of the “no case to answer” ruling and engage with some defense witnesses.
Late last year, the court ruled that Kwoyelo has a case to answer, confirming 78 out of the 93 charges he faced. The charges include war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the Pagak internally displaced people’s camp (IDP) in Amuru District between 1993 and 2005. The main trial is anticipated to commence soon.
Kwoyelo, once a commander of the Joseph Kony-led LRA rebel group, participated in numerous atrocities in northern Uganda over about two decades before the group was expelled. Captured by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2005, he was subsequently brought back to Uganda and detained at Luzira Upper Prison.