Global Policy Forum

ICC May Drop Warrants for LRA


Agence France Presse
July 11, 2006

Uganda aims to persuade the International Criminal Court (ICC) to waive arrest warrants for five Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commanders, in order to boost chances of a lasting peace with the insurgents, said officials on Monday. Deputy foreign minister Okello Oryem said state officials were mulling ways to convince the ICC to lift the warrants, which were widely expected to limit LRA participation in talks expected to open in southern Sudan on Wednesday. Oryem, a member of the Ugandan government delegation to the peace talks, said: "We have discussed it internally to see how to approach the ICC and very soon we will contact them."

Kony may be granted amnesty

The LRA commanders targeted by warrants of the Netherlands-based war crimes court included Joseph Kony, leader of the notorious rebel group. Earlier this month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni pledged to grant Kony total amnesty, disregarding ICC warrants, if peace talks succeeded in ending nearly two decades of fighting in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. Museveni added that the ICC had lost the moral authority to try Kony. He cited the United Nations' failure to arrest Kony even after his fighters were suspected of killing its peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, although the ICC was not a UN court.

Kony faces arrest

But, officials said the presence of the ICC warrants might bar Kony and his deputy Vincent Otti from being present at the peace talks. In addition, even if the Uganda foes reached a peace deal, it would be constrained by the fact that Kony still faced arrest if he travelled outside Uganda - an ICC signatory - but had vowed to disregard this in the event of peace. They said the Ugandan government would propose "traditional justice" for Kony, which excluded a prison term as a way of healing wounds inflicted on the civilian population by his brutal insurgency. Oryem said: "Kony is not going to be put in jail or arrested, but shall ask his clan to compensate the victims, and the government will support that arrangement", expounding the concept of traditional justice.

Kony 'most wanted man'

Tens of thousands of people had been killed and some two million displaced in northern Uganda since the LRA took leadership of a regional rebellion in 1988 in a bid to oust Museveni. The move sparked what the UN and humanitarian groups had described as the world's most brutal and forgotten conflict.

A self-styled prophet and mystic, Kony and his four cohorts were among the world's most wanted men and were subject to international arrest notices from Interpol. Kony denied he was a terrorist and renewed his call for peace talks with Museveni's government. He said: "I'm a freedom fighter who is fighting for freedom in Uganda. I am not a terrorist." A spokesperson for the government peace talks delegation Paddy Ankunda said that its plan to approach the ICC about the warrants was aimed at "giving peace a chance".

More Information on International Justice
More Information on the ICC Investigations in Uganda
More Information on Joseph Kony
More Information on the International Criminal Court
More Information on Uganda


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.