Museveni’s reaction comes on the heels of reports claiming Ongwen had made a public announcement, saying he had been granted a pardon by the President.
The president has no prerogative and does not claim to have it to pardon terrorists who have abused the sanctity of human life
But the president’s deputy spokesperson, Lindah Nabusayi, says nothing could be further from the truth.
“There have been various media reports alleging that ICC fugitive Dominic Ongwen, who surrendered to the American Special Forces in the Central African Republic (CAR), had received a presidential pardon from President Yoweri Museveni,” the statement read.
“This is to clarify that amnesty is provided to rebel combatants who abandon or renounce involvement in war against the state or the constitution.”
In his purported defection audio message dated January 9, 2015 from Obo, in CAR, Dominic Ongwen claims that “the President has agreed to forgive me since I surrendered on my own”.
Nabusayi said the audio message was false.
She said Museveni would only allow amnesty if Ongwen had been involved in a rebellion against the State – fighting government soldiers – and renounced his actions.
Museveni said Ongwen’s victims and those of the LRA top commanders were innocent people ripped from their homes, schools, communities and killed or maimed and used as sex slaves and fighters in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, CAR and South Sudan.
“The president has no prerogative and does not claim to have it to pardon terrorists who have abused the sanctity of human life,” the statement said.
According to Paddy Ankunda, Ugandan army spokesperson, Ongwen will be handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
Ongwen commanded an LRA Brigade, which has been blamed for some of the worst atrocities committed by the rebels, including rape, sexual slavery, murder and mutilation.
The amnesty law does not cover rebels involved in crimes against humanity or war crimes and does not apply to LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top commanders, who were indicted in 2005 by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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