War crimes trial starts for Uganda rebel commander

AP News
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Posted: Jul 11, 2011 11:02 AM
War crimes trial starts for Uganda rebel commander

Uganda has opened its first war crimes trial against a top rebel commander charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery.

Thomas Kwoyelo denied all 53 counts of the charges Monday, when he appeared before a panel of three judges.

A judiciary spokesman says Justice Dan Akiiki Kiiza adjourned the hearings until Aug. 15.

Kwoyelo, a top commander for the Lord's Resistance Army, is the first suspect to face trial at Uganda's International Crime Division, set up in northern Uganda to try war crimes suspects.

The LRA originated in Uganda and is known for vicious attacks against civilians, for abducting and forcing children to become members of the group and for brutally torturing others. Its leader, Joseph Kony, is wanted by the International Criminal Court.