How I Came to Represent Former Ugandan Child Soldier Thomas Kwoyelo in His War Crimes Trial
One thirteen-year-old child is abducted and forced into rebellion. Another grows up on the other side of the world in relative safety. Their paths ultimately cross in a desperate effort to save the soldier’s life and the attorney’s sanity.
This is the story of how James D. Pirtle, a defiant naval aviator and aspiring attorney, takes the unlikely and risky opportunity to represent Thomas Kwoyelo, the first man ever slated for trial in the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda.
Kwoyelo, kidnapped at gunpoint to serve as a child soldier in The Lord’s Resistance Army, eventually rises to the rank of commander, yet his only lasting wish is to one day return home to his village and his mother.
Two men’s lives unfold dramatically until they become tied together in a landmark war crimes trial. Grim and whimsical events lead through the challenging and dark experiences of both men.
Human trafficking and abduction, torture, geopolitics, suicide, human rights, and crimes against humanity appear throughout the two men’s stories. This unlikely adventure serves as both inspiration and caution leading to an indictment on aspects of civilization which must not be ignored
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