Kony 2012 - Generation C getting political to see justice for a war criminal

The following blog is not Middle East related.  But it is useful for mepeace to consider broadly in terms of peace, justice, international law and activism.


Some of you may have heard of Kony 2012.  If you haven't take a look at the following clip and link.




Kony 2012: The Gen C campaign to arrest a war criminal


This blog has been created in support of Kony 2012. 


What is Kony 2012?


Kony 2012 is an advocacy campaign organised by Invisible Children Inc.  The campaign started in March 2012 and will end on 31 December 2012.  The purpose of the campaign is to ensure (1) the arrest of the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and (2) to make Kony an example to perpetrators of war crimes that international justice will also hold them to account.  The strategy of the campaign to make Jospeh Kony famous, so that policy makers and legislators will continue to direct  efforts to secure Kony's arrest and trial before the International Criminal Court.


What is Invisible Children Inc?[1]


From ICI’s website:


“In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story. What started out as a filmmaking adventure became much more when Jason, Laren, and Bobby stumbled upon Africa’s longest-running war--a conflict where children were both the weapons and the victims.

They produced the documentary Invisible Children: Rough Cut in 2005. At first they just showed it to their friends and family, but it wasn’t long before millions of people had seen the documentary and knew about the “invisible children.”


In 2006, Invisible Children, Inc., became an official 501(c)3 non-profit.[2]


Invisible Children Inc is based in San Diego, Califirnia.  Thir contact email is:




Who is Joseph Kony?


A history of the Lord’s Resistance Army by Invisible Children Inc (Uganda: 1986-2006, Congo/South Sudan/Central African Republic 2006-present)[3]


Where is Kony located?


Kony is located  at various times within Congo, Central African republic and South Sudan.  Prior to 2006 he was based mainly in Northern Uganada (Map of  Central Africa)[4]


What does the International Criminal Court say about Joseph Kony?


The situation in Uganada

The case The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Domi... is currently being heard before Pre-Trial Chamber II. In this case, five warrants of arrest have been issued against [the] five top members of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).  Following the confirmation of the death of Mr Lukwiya, the proceedings against him have been terminated. The four remaining suspects are still at large.  


Joseph Kony (ICC home page)[5]

“Mr Kony is allegedly criminally responsible for thirty-three counts on the
basis of his individual criminal responsibility (articles 25(3)(a) and 25(3)
(b) of the Statute) including:

  • Twelve counts of crimes against humanity (murder - article 7(1)(a);
    enslavement - article 7(1)(c); sexual enslavement – article 7(1)(g); rape - article 7(1)(g); inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering - article 7(1)(k)); and,
  • Twenty-one counts of war crimes (murder - article 8(2)(c)(i); cruel
    treatment of civilians – article 8(2)(c)(i); intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population – article 8(2)(e)(i); pillaging - article 8(2) (e)(v); inducing rape – article 8(2)(e)(vi); forced enlistment of children - 8(2)(e)(vii)).“ [6]

President of Uganda refers situation concerning the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to the ICC
ICC-20040129-44, 29 January 2004[7]

 “In December 2003 the President Yoweri Museveni took the decision to refer the situation concerning the Lord’s Resistance Army to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The Prosecutor has determined that there is a sufficient basis to start planning for the first investigation of the International Criminal Court. Determination to initiate the investigation will take place in the coming months.

President Museveni met with the Prosecutor in London to establish the basis for future co-operation between Uganda and the International Criminal Court. A key issue will be locating and arresting the LRA leadership. This will require the active co-operation of states and international institutions in supporting the efforts of the Ugandan authorities.

Many of the members of the LRA are themselves victims, having been abducted and brutalised by the LRA leadership. The reintegration of these individuals into Ugandan society is key to the future stability of Northern Uganda. This will require the concerted support of the international community – Uganda and the Court cannot do this alone.

In a bid to encourage members of the LRA to return to normal life, the Ugandan authorities have enacted an amnesty law. President Museveni has indicated to the Prosecutor his intention to amend this amnesty so as to exclude the leadership of the LRA, ensuring that those bearing the greatest responsibility for the crimes against humanity committed in Northern Uganda are brought to justice.”


What are the basic laws in operation in the International Criminal Court?


1. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (pdf)[8] (html)[9]

2. Basic legal texts of the ICC[10]



Can the ICC still investigate and prosecute a case against Kony?


Yes.  On 21 October, 2008, Pre-Trial Chamber II decided to initiate proceedings under article 19(1) of the Rome Statute with a view to determine whether the Court could still investigate and prosecute the case against Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.



Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court


Article 19

Challenges to the jurisdiction of the Court or the admissibility of a case


1. The Court shall satisfy itself that it has jurisdiction in any case brought before it. The Court may, on its own motion, determine the admissibility of a case in accordance with article 17.



Article 17

Issues of admissibility


1. Having regard to paragraph 10 of the Preamble and article 1, the Court shall determine that a case is inadmissible where:

(a) The case is being investigated or prosecuted by a State which has jurisdiction over it, unless the State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution;


On 10 March 2009, the Pre-Trial Chamber determined that “at this stage the Case is admissible under article 17 of the Statute”. On 16 March 2009 the Defence appealed. On 16 December 2009, the Appeals Chamber rendered its decision confirming the decision previously taken by Pre-Trial Chamber II.


Case information sheet - The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, ICC-PIDS-CIS-UGA-001-001/10, 24 June 2010[11]


Case 01/05



Case The Prosecutor v. Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen
Situation in Uganda



Report from the Registrar to Pre-Trial Chamber II regarding the progress conducted by the Republic of Uganda to execute the warrant of arrests

Registrar, ICC-02/04-01/05-81, 12 April 2006[12]


Warrant of Arrest for Joseph Kony issued on 8th July 2005 as amended on 27th September 2005, Pre-Trial Chamber II, ICC-02/04-01/05, 27 September 2005[13]


Registration in the record of the memorandum of Service regarding the Transmission to the republic of Uganda of the requests for Arrest and Surrender in accordance with the decision on the Prosecutor’s Application dated 26 September 2005

Registrar, ICC-02/04-01/05-48, 7 October 2005[14]



What is The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)?


As extracted from the warrant for Joseph Kony:


“5…[T]he LRA is an armed group carrying out an insurgency against the Government of Uganda and the Ugandan Army (also known as the Uganda People’s Defence Force (“UPDF”)) and local defence units (“LDUs”) since at least 1987; that over this time, including the period from the 1st day of July 2002, the LRA has been directing attacks against both the UPDF and LDUs and against civilian populations; that, in pursuing its goals, the LRA has engaged in a cycle of violence and established a pattern of “brutalization of civilians” by acts including murder, abduction, sexual enslavement, mutilation, as well as mass burnings of houses and looting of camp settlements; that abducted civilians, including children, are said to have

been forcibly “recruited” as fighters, porters and sex slaves to serve the LRA and to contribute to attacks against the Ugandan army and civilian communities;


6. CONSIDERING that the existence and acts of the LRA, as well as their impact on Uganda’s armed forces and civilian communities, have been reported by the Government of Uganda and its agencies and by several independent sources, including the United Nations, foreign governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations and world media;


7. CONSIDERING the allegations that the LRA was founded and is led by JOSEPH KONY, the Chairman and Commander-in-Chief, and that the LRA is organised in a military-type hierarchy and operates as an army;


LRA forces are divided into four brigades named Stockree, Sinia, Trinkle and Gilva, and that, since July 2002, the LRA’s hierarchy of posts under JOSEPH KONY’s overall leadership has

included Vincent Otti, the Vice-Chairman and Second-in-Command; the Army Commander; three senior posts of Deputy Army Commander, Brigade General and Division Commander; and four Commanders of equal rank, each of whom leads one of the four LRA brigades;


9. CONSIDERING the specific allegations that JOSEPH KONY, Vincent Otti and other senior LRA commanders are the key members of “Control Altar”, the section representing the core LRA leadership responsible for devising and implementing LRA strategy, including standing orders to attack and brutalise civilian populations;


10. HAVING EXAMINED the Prosecutor’s submission that, in his capacity as overall leader and Commander-in-Chief of the LRA, individually or together with other persons whose arrests are sought by the Prosecutor, JOSEPH KONY committed, ordered or induced the commission of several crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court during the period from 1 July 2002 to REDACTED 2004”.



Why I am inspired by Kony 2012?


Kony 2012 is an inspiring example of individuals working together to respond to injustice.


Kony is an excellent demonstration of the power of advocacy in getting policy makers and legislators to act to bring about a change.


Kony reminds me of my own journey, of someone who has travelled through parts of Asia and the Middle East and stared in the face of injustice at a colossal scale.  Not forgetting the only injustice that continues to occur in my own country Australia.  Retuning to one’s own country one feels an obligation to be a witness to the story of those whose lives have touched your heart.  There is a call to ‘awake’ colleagues, friends and family from he slumber of complacency that can occur in an industrialized affluent society.


What is my response to critics of Kony 2012 and Invisible Children Inc


  1. Criticism is welcome for any idea or ideology.
  2. Criticism is necessary to ensure accountability i,e that the principle matches the practice
  3. At its best criticism ensures healthy debate, innovation and change
  4. However, criticism is unwelcome if it merely causes people to return to their slumber where inaction is the norm rather than action
  5. Criticism may be either fair and reasonable or unreasonable
  6. Criticism can be counter-productive if it is unreasonable.
  7. Criticism is unwelcome and counterproductive if it breeds inaction and apathy (see the effect of the anti-climate change propagandists.  All they need to do is 'muddy the waters' with their criticism of climate change and it breeds confusion, indecision, apathy and inevitably inaction.  The tobacco lobby did this in the 1960s by introducing their own 'science' to protect their industry)
  8. Criticism of Kony 2012 and Invisible Children Inc at present appears to be unhelpful if it stifles people’s enthusiasm to make a difference in ending war crimes being committed in Central Africa – and specifically the arrest of Jospeh Kony.
  1. Critics of ICI’s expenditure of funds fail to understand how advocacy works as distinct from a narrow version of charity. Successful advocacy campaigns like Jubilee Australia, Make Poverty History work at changing structural issues within international societies. Such campaigns are based around educating the wider public to bring about policy and legislative change. They are about changing the way we consume, vote and interact with our national and international political system.


What is Generation C?


“Born sometime between the launch of the VCR and the commercialization of the Internet, Americans 18-34 are redefining media consumption with their unique embrace of all things digital. According to Nielsen and NM Incite’s U.S. Digital Consumer Report, this group—dubbed “Generation C” by Nielsen—is taking their personal connection—with each other and content—to new levels, new devices and new experiences like no other age group.


The latest Census reports that Americans 18-34 make up 23 percent of the U.S. population, yet they represent an outsized portion of consumers watching online video (27%), visiting social networking/blog sites (27%), owning tablets (33%) and using a smartphone (39%). Their ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and content providers alike. Generation C is engaging in new ways and there are more touch points for marketers to reach them.”[15]


“It's not clear whether the C stands for "consumer," "connected," "content" or all three, but that's the letter Nielsen and NM Incite's State of the Media have chosen to represent the generation born between the launch of the VCR and the commercialization of the Internet.”[16]





What are some other related wars in the region?


First Congo War November 1996 to May 1997) was a revolution in Zaire that replaced President Mobutu Sésé Seko, a decades-long dictator, with rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila. Destabilization in eastern Zaire that resulted from the Rwandan genocide was the final factor that caused numerous internal and external actors to align against the corrupt and inept government in Kinshasa. The new government renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although it brought little true change.[17]


The Second Congo War (also known as the Great War of Africa) began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly called Zaire), and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power; however, hostilities continue since then.


The deadliest war in modern African history, it directly involved eight African nations, as well as about 25 armed groups. By 2008, the war and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people, mostly from disease and starvation, making the Second Congo War the deadliest conflict worldwide since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighboring countries.[18]


The Ituri conflict is a conflict between the agriculturalist Lendu and pastoralist Hema ethnic groups in the Ituri region of the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While there have been many phases to the conflict, the most recent armed clashes ran from 1999 to 2003, with a low-level conflict continuing until 2007. The conflict had been vastly complicated by the presence of various armed groups who participated in the Second Congo War, the large amount of small arms in the region, a scramble for the area's abundant natural resources, and the ethnic tensions of the surrounding region. The Lendu ethnicity was largely represented by the Nationalist and Integrationist Front (FNI) while the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) claimed to be fighting for the Hema. More than 50,000 people have been killed in the conflict and hundreds of thousands forced from their homes.[19]



Kony 2012 can be a positive campaign if it raises in the conscience of fellow human beings of the plight of others and the power that we have to help.  The campaign has the potential to breather new life into international law and the place of the International Criminal Court.  How the campaign goes depends on the actions we take today.  Is there naive idealism within the campaign.  Is it overly simplistic?  Sure. But what are the choices here?  Are the critics suggesting that advocacy does not have a place in bringing political change and social justice?  What are the critics doing to help bring peace to those being affected by constant war?  I reject the pessimism of those who suck the air of enthusiasm out of this campaign.  I say thank you to those who prefer action to inaction, empathy instead of apathy.  

Joseph Kony is not a silver bullet in resolving civil conflict in the region.  However, his arrest will be a step in the right direction.  It will be a warning for other perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity that you will be held accountable for your crimes.   

May 2012 indeed be a year people unite to take another step to building peace to the people of Congo, Uganda, Central Africa and South Sudan. 





[15] “Introducing Generation C: Americans 18-34 Are the Most Connected”, 23 February 2012

[16] “Nielsen discovers Generation C”, 23 February 2012


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