Photography Project on Flickr

11 10 2008

LRA victim

Originally uploaded by Nick Anderson

This is one of the 800+ images posted to the Artists Against Corruption Group on Flickr as part of our first photography based project.

From the images posted we will select a collection for an exhibition and book. The aim will be to put a human face on the abstract concept of corruption. Also, to show the scale of the problem, the vast range of consequences, and its connection with poverty in particular.

Professional & Amateur photographers are invited to participate. If their images are then selected for use in the exhibition we will first seek written permission.

The image shown is of a Ugandan boy that was a victim of the atrocities carries out by the Lords Resistance Army lead by Joseph Kony who I have previously profiled on this blog.

Kony and the LRA are still active. Recent reports say he has set up six new bases in northern DR Congo and is running diamond mines in the Central African Republic. The LRA are notorious for abducting children and mutilating victims.

In Sudan the LRA were hired and supported by the Sudanese Government of Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir who is also responsible for the Darfur crisis today.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants for Kony and other LRA members. There are 33 charges, 12 counts are crimes against humanity, which include murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement and rape. There are another 21 counts of war crimes which include murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlisting of children into the rebel ranks.

Photo by Nick Anderson
Click the link for a profile of Joseph Kony

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Pure Evil: Joseph Kony

20 09 2008

Joseph Kony has to be one of the most evil men alive, and he is still committing atrocities. The Lords Resistance Army, he created and is the commander of, this week carried out a surprise attack on a military base in southern Sudan.  The LRA are notorious for abducting children and mutilating victims.

Although from Uganda, The group have been in camps on the Sudan-DR Congo border for the last two years during peace negotiations. From its many bases in the region it has led a rebellion against the government for more than 20 years. Recent reports say he has set up six new bases in northern DR Congo and is running diamond mines in the Central African Republic.

The LRA leader is accused of numerous war crimes, including abducting and mutilating civilians and forcing thousands of children into combat.

Kony has a lot to answer for. In Sudan the LRA were hired and supported by the Sudanese Government of Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir who is also responsible for the Darfur crisis today. They received weapons and other support to punish Uganda for supporting souther Sudanese rebels.

In April, LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to sign a peace deal agreed to by his representatives after nearly two years of talks. Kony was said to have not signed the agreement because he was seeking guarantees about arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Last weekend, an LRA spokesman told the BBC the rebels were willing to sign the agreement but would not disarm until the ICC indictments were lifted.

On October 6, 2005 it was announced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord’s Resistance Army for crimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. On the next day Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants include Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odiambo and Dominic Ongwen. According to spokesmen for the military, the Ugandan army killed Lukwiya on August 12, 2006

A week later, on October 13, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo released details on Kony’s indictment. There are 33 charges, 12 counts are crimes against humanity, which include murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement and rape. There are another 21 counts of war crimes which include murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlisting of children into the rebel ranks. Ocampo said that “Kony was abducting girls to offer them as rewards to his commanders.”

On August 28, 2008, the United States Treasury Department placed Kony on its list of “specially designated global terrorists,” a designation that carries financial and other penalties. It is unknown whether or not Kony has any assets that are affected by this designation.

Asked about the ICC charges, he insisted: “I am not guilty. I am not guilty. I am not guilty. But we want the people of Uganda to be free. We are fighting for democracy.” (BBC Newsnight, June 2006). He claims not to kill civilians, only the soldiers of the Ugandan government. He also denies child abductions, but there are many survivors that contradict this.

He sees himself as a spirit medium who gets his instructions from the Holy Spirit.

He has created an aura of fear and mysticism around himself and his rebels follow strict rules and rituals.”When you go to fight you make the sign of the cross first. If you fail to do this, you will be killed,” one young fighter who escaped from the LRA told Human Rights Watch. “You must also take oil and draw a cross on your chest, your forehead, and each shoulder, and you must make a cross in oil on your gun. They say that the oil is the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Mr Kony appears to believe that his role is to cleanse the Acholi people. He uses biblical references to explain why it is necessary to kill his own people, since they have – in his view – failed to support his cause.

In his interview with BBC’s Newsnight he confirmed that he is guided by spirits, “I don’t know the number but they speak to me. They load through me. They will tell us what is going to happen. They say ‘you, Mr Joseph, tell your people that the enemy is planning to come and attack’.”

The LRA have combined the fanaticism of a cult with ruthless military efficiency, and while its apparent aim is to impose the Ten Commandments on Uganda its means could scarcely have been more evil..

SOURCES:

Uganda rebels in surprise attack

Uganda rebel leader breaks silence

Profile: Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony

Wikipedia