Best columns: International
Kony hunt can’t go on without U.S.
Uganda has been forced to abandon the hunt for its most dangerous and bloodthirsty rebel leader, said Edris Kiggundu. Joseph Kony, cult leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has terrorized the region for decades, slaughtering and mutilating thousands of villagers and kidnapping their children for use as soldiers and sex slaves. The Ugandan army pursued him to the Central African Republic, where he is now based, but tracking a band of perhaps a few hundred fighters in a vast jungle was all but impossible—until the U.S. joined the fight. In 2011, America sent a group of Special Forces to assist the Ugandans and provide “sophisticated weaponry and intelligence-gathering equipment.” Several top LRA commanders were apprehended, and the ultimate goal, killing or capturing Kony, was within reach. But then last month, the U.S. pulled its forces, and last week the Ugandan army said it, too, would leave the CAR. Apparently the hunt for Kony is “a victim of U.S. President Donald Trump’s new resolve to undo some of the decisions made by the Obama administration.” This is bad news for Uganda. While Kony is weakened, he is still a threat, having abducted some 60 children in January alone. “America First” means Ugandans are on their own.
When cops are killers, justice is dead
Joel Ruiz Butuyan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The International Criminal Court is our only hope for ending President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, said Joel Ruiz Butuyan. Before Duterte took office last June, he repeatedly told crowds of supporters and police that they’d face no reprisals if they killed suspected drug dealers and users. Since then, some 8,000 people—including many small-time pushers and addicts— have been killed. Gleeful local officials have taken advantage of the president’s words and drawn up lists of suspects in each village that often include their own political and business rivals. Police say most of the victims are killed by vigilantes—but a new Reuters report, citing two top officials who have turned on Duterte, states that police officers are responsible for most of the slaughter, and routinely plant drugs on bodies. But even with evidence mounting, it’s unlikely that Duterte can be brought to justice here at home. He will soon appoint a fresh batch of Supreme Court judges, who will “be sympathetic to his predicament many years after he leaves office.” That’s why lawyer Jude Josue Sabio has brought a suit asking the ICC to charge Duterte with mass murder and bring to an end to what he calls “this dark, obscene, murderous, and evil era in the Philippines.” With so many police implicated in the bloodshed, we can’t end it ourselves.