ICC: No Deal LRA

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[International: Uganda]

The International Criminal Court’s indictments of leaders of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army won’t be lifted and the court expects the arrest warrants to be executed, the ICC prosecutor tells The Black Star News.

In a strongly worded statement released by his office today, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor says the ICC isn’t a party to the on-going peace negotiations between the Uganda government and the LRA, in Juba, Southern Sudan.

In addition to the warrants against the LRA leadership Ocampo hints that more actions by the court against the LRA may be in the works, noting reports of allegations of new atrocities and movement of LRA fighters into Central Africa.

The Juba peace talks, aimed at ending 20 years war between the Uganda government and LRA reportedly hit a snag when Joseph Kony, the LRA commander told negotiators he won't sign a deal unless the ICC lifts the indictments and outstanding arrest warrants, according to Uganda media reports.

"The Office is not a party to the Peace Process. The Prosecutor does not comment on any aspect of the process or the content of agreements, nor will he speculate on hypothetical situations,” Ocampo says, when asked by The Black Sar about Kony’s position.

“The arrest warrants against the LRA Commanders were issued by the Court and remain in effect,” Ocampo adds.

Moreover, any deal that Uganda government may strike with the LRA won’t dispose of the ICC’s case against the LRA, Ocampo notes, adding, “A challenge to the admissibility of the case before the Court remains hypothetical and, in any event, would be a matter for the judges of the Court to decide upon. The Office is very confident that the case for which warrants have been granted remains admissible.” 

Ocampo hints at possible further action against the LRA, saying he “notes with concern the reports on the recent LRA atrocities in Southern Sudan and the movement of LRA personnel into or towards the Central African Republic.”

“The LRA group moving to CAR reportedly includes many of the remaining women and children that are held in LRA activity,” adds Ocampo. “The movement coincided with a resurgence of alleged LRA attacks in Southern Sudan. These attacks have resulted in numerous killings, incidents of looting and abductions.”

Several thousands have died in the Uganda war but even hundreds of thousands more are estimated by the World Health Organization to have perished through starvation and diseases in concentration camps where the government herded civilians in northern Uganda, claiming it was the best way to protect people from LRA atrocities  http://www.who.int/hac/crises/uga/sitreps/Ugandamortsurvey.pdf)

Critics, including Olara Otunnu, a former United Nations Under-Secretary General, have denounced the deaths in the camps as “slow-motion genocide.”



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