The Hague - Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony will be captured
or killed this year, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor
said on Thursday.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo added that the "Kony 2012"
video, produced by the Invisible Children advocacy group and viewed
about 100 million times online, forever changed a conflict that has
raged since the late 1980s in relative obscurity.
"We reached a
complete new generation," following the 28-minute video's release, said
Moreno-Ocampo, who in 2005 secured an arrest warrant for Kony and four
of his top deputies, two of whom have since died.
"Kony will be
arrested or killed before the end of this year," the Argentinian
Moreno-Ocampo told journalists, without specifying why he felt the
elusive rebel leader would finally be found.
Kony launched his
rebellion in northern Uganda more than two decades ago but has since
been chased to the jungles of neighbouring central African states.
December 2008, Uganda led a US-backed offensive on LRA camps in
neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, but Kony escaped and his
small band of fighters scattered around the vast jungle region.
President Barack Obama has sent 100 special forces to the region to
assist the Ugandan, Congolese, Central Africa and South Sudanese troops
hunting for Kony and the remnants of the LRA.
Ocampo was speaking
at one of his last public engagements before leaving his post at The
Hague-based court, with Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian, set to take over as
chief prosecutor next month.
The Kony 2012 video was criticised
by some, in part for oversimplifying the root causes of the LRA's
devastating insurgency, but Ocampo applauded it for raising awareness
about the conflict to unprecedented levels.
"Whatever you think
about the video, it is a 28-minute video about crimes that unseated Lady
Gaga," said Moreno-Ocampo, noting that Kony 2012 briefly got more
online attention than the singer rated by Rolling Stone magazine as last
year's top female pop artist.
Kony is wanted by the ICC for
rape, mutilation and the murder of civilians, as well as abducting and
forcibly recruiting children to serve as child soldiers or sex slaves.