Last month, an internet video campaign calling for the arrest of wanted Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony went viral, drawing millions of views within days of its official launch. The Stop Kony campaign shone a light on a troubling part of recent Ugandan history, on the use and abuse of child soldiers by Kony's rebel Lord's Resistance Army, and on the horrifying legacy of a man who has yet to face justice for his role in countless instances of murder, torture, abuse and rape.
But the video also prompted criticism against Invisible Children, the U.S. group behind the campaign, for producing a video that focused less on the stories of people in Uganda and more on the filmmakers themselves.
For all of the criticism it received (filmmaker Jason Russell famously broke down in public days after the video went viral, reportedly due to the backlash his film created) Kony 2012 also showed that a viral video campaign can be an effective tool for raising awareness about human rights issues in Africa. Today, veteran NGO Human Rights Watch launched a video campaign of its own, calling this time for the arrest of Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, a man known as "Terminator Tango" for his rapacious and murderous track record in the civil wars that have racked the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(Warning: This video contains some disturbing imagery.)
Ntaganda has already been charged with war crimes, but he has so far evaded arrest, and in fact has continued to roam free and possibly continue to perpetrate violence. The International Criminal Court can issue arrest warrants, but it relies on the co-operation of sovereign governments to carry them out. In the case of Ntaganda (not to mention many others), this has not yet happened, in spite of the evidence against him.
Will HRW's video campaign have the same impact as Kony 2012? As of this morning, on the day it was published, the clip had less than 100 views. But unlike the Kony video, there are many voices in the Ntaganda clip, including human rights experts, authorities and, most importantly, many of those directly affected by Ntaganda's reign of terror.
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