Court to rule on whether Kwoyelo has case to answer

Mr Thomas Kwoyelo

What you need to know:

Kwoyelo was one of the commanders of Joseph Kony’s LRA. He was captured by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in DR Congo and currently in detention.

The International Crimes Division of the High Court is expected to rule and confirm whether the remanded former commander of the Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA), Thomas Kwoyelo, has a case to answer.

“Take notice that the above-mentioned case has been fixed for ruling before honourable court on the December 18 at 9am sitting at the International Crimes Division of the High Court in Gulu before a panel of justices,”reads in part the ruling notice issued by deputy registrar of the court, Ms Harriet Hatanga, last Friday.

If the panel of four justices led by Michael Elubu finds that the evidence adduced by 53 prosecution witnesses is not enough to have put on full trial, then Kwoyelo, who has been in detention almost 14 years, will walk to freedom.

On the contrary, if the justices find that the evidence adduced by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is sufficient, then Kwoyelo will be put on full trial before the final verdict can be determined.

The other justices on the panel are Duncan Gaswaga, Stephen Mubiru and alternative judge Andrew Bashaija.

The court ruling comes eight months after the prosecution closed the presentation of 53 witnesses in trying to make a case against Kwoyelo.

In the build-up to the conclusion of this long pre-trial, the court has already received more than 80 victims’ applications filed in Amuru District between October and December this year.

The ruling notice of the court has since been sent to the prosecution counsel led by William Byansi, Charles Richard Kamuli, Florence Akello and Lillian Omara.

Kwoyelo’s defense lawyers Charles Dalton Opwonya, Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng and Borris Geoffrey Anyuru have also been sent the same ruling notice.


He is facing 93 counts of charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity related to sexual violence, murder, kidnap, robbery, pillaging and also enslavement to torture in connection with the two-decade insurgency in Northern Uganda that was led by Joseph Kony.

He was one of the commanders of the LRA. He was captured by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2009.

Subsequently, he was brought back to Uganda and detained at Luzira Upper Prison.

While at Luzira on January 12, 2010, Kwoyelo made a declaration before the officer in charge of the prison, renouncing rebellion and seeking amnesty.

In 2022, the Constitutional Court ruled in Kwoyelo’s favour since he had renounced rebellion before ordering his release.

However, he was re-arrested with the Supreme Court overturning the Constitutional Court’s decision before ordering for his trial before the High Court.