Idi Amin, who ruled Uganda from 1971 until 1979, presided over one of the bloodiest dictatorships in African history.
When he was finally forced from power by Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles, as many as 400,000 people are believed to have been killed under his rule. Many others suffered human rights abuses such as imprisonment, torture, mutilation, and rape. Reports say he threw corpses to crocodiles and held “talks” with the decapitated heads of his victims kept in a freezer for the purpose. He is also accused of cannibalism.
In 1972, Idi Amin expelled the entire Asian population of Uganda, blaming them for controlling the economy for their own ends.
Unfortunately, gross human rights violations continued in the aftermath of Amin’s regime. Under both President Milton Obote and President Yoweri Museveni widespread and indiscriminate human rights abuses were committed while fighting rebel groups in the north of the country.
Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed spirit medium, formed an infamous guerilla army known as the Lord’s Resistance Army after the 1986 overthrow of Ugandan president Tito Okello. The guerilla army operates mainly in northern Uganda and southern Sudan.
The conflict between the Ugandan government and the LRA, which began in 1986, has devastated the country’s north, leaving over 1.7 million people displaced, an estimated 100,000 dead and 75,000 others abducted by rebels.
The rebel group is accused of kidnapping tens of thousands of women and children to serve as soldiers, servants or sex slaves in northern Uganda as well as forcing these forcibly conscripted civilians to commit horrible crimes, including the mutilation (including the systematic cutting off of limbs, lips, noses, and ears as ‘punishments’) and killing of fellow villagers and even family members.
As many as 38,000 children and 37,000 adults have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army since 1986. Nearly one in four of the abductees is female and, on average, women remain enslaved by the LRA three and a half years longer than men. These young women are often used by LRA commanders as “wives” and up to 10 percent become pregnant while in captivity, contributing to the length of their stay.
In some LRA-occupied regions, as many as 10 percent of the inhabitants were abducted. While some eventually returned to their communities, others died in captivity.
The Ugandan army itself has also been accused of war crimes and atrocities during the 20-year civil war in the north of the country. Ugandan army soldiers have been accused of rape, forced displacement, murder and use of child soldiers.
The Ugandan government also operates camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Uganda, which have been accused of being actually “concentration camps” with the sole aim of annihilating the people living there. It has been estimated that as many as 1,500 people die weekly in the camps.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
DO THESE CONSTITUTE WAR CRIMES OR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY?
SHOULD ANYONE BE PROSECUTED FOR THEM?
IF SO, WHO?