Seeking International Justice for Sexual Assault Victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army from CAR

May 2012 | In 2005, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and four other senior Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commanders for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in northern Uganda. The following year, Kony and the LRA moved out of northern Uganda, conducting operations in several neighboring countries including the Central African Republic (CAR). Since February 2008, the rebel group has been carrying out attacks in the southeastern provinces of CAR. It is estimated that hundreds of women and girls have been abducted and forcibly recruited by the LRA in attacks against the civilian population of the CAR.

WITNESS teamed up with Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice and JUPEDEC (Jeunesse Unie pour la Protection de l’Environnement et le Développement Communautaire) to create Our Plea, a video of two young female survivors telling their stories of sexual violence perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in CAR. In the video, the young women recount their abduction and the rapes, sexual violence and beatings they suffered while in captivity, as well as their lives following the return to their communities.

The video was screened at the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor and at a high-level meeting with states parties to the ICC. The Office of the Prosecutor agreed to explore expanding investigations into the southeastern Central African Republic, with the arrest of Joseph Kony and his commanders being a priority. These efforts pre-dated the Kony 2012 campaign and helped bring attention to the prosecution of LRA leaders.