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International Criminal Court Investigations Uganda

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In 1987, Joseph Kony formed the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), claiming to seek the establishment of a Ugandan national government based on Christian principles and the Ten Commandments. Over the course of its existence, the LRA has killed thousands of civilians, and abducted an estimated 20,000 children, forcing them to be sex slaves and child soldiers. In January 2004, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni became the first head of state to refer a case in his country to the ICC.

While this was a historic moment for the Court, the continuation of LRA violence has complicated the case in Uganda. ICC investigators have been slowed by ongoing debates over the merits of seeking justice in a society where peace still does not exist, and whether or not Ugandans should rely on methods of traditional justice, rather than international criminal trials.

In October 2005, the ICC reignited these debates when it issued indictments for Joseph Kony and four other five of the top LRA officers. The lack of arrest warrants against the Ugandan armed forces has also raised concerns about the ICC's impartiality.

The articles and documents below track these and other issues facing the ICC investigations in Uganda.

Key Documents

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first-ever official arrest warrants. In this historic document, the ICC prosecutor singles out Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, and charges him with 33 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since July 2002, when the ICC Rome Statute came into effect.


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Uganda: ICC to Investigate Allegations of Army Atrocities (June 3, 2010)

The Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has stated that the Court is assessing information accusing the Ugandan military of war crimes and atrocities committed in the 20-year civil war in the north of the county. The ICC has only issued arrest warrant against the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony, and four of his commanders. The lack of arrest warrants against the Ugandan armed forces raise many concerns about the Court's impartiality. Ocampo reiterates, however, that the gravest crimes were committed by the LRA. (IRIN)


ICC Judges to Review LRA Cases (November 19, 2008)

The ICC is reviewing its cases against leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army because some of them possibly died and a proposed Ugandan special court could deal with the cases instead. This local court formed part of a peace agreement (still unsigned) between the government and the LRA, because LRA leader Joseph Kony does not want to face trial by the ICC. Victim groups say the possible case transfer shows that Uganda wants to comply with LRA demands and compromise justice in return for peace. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

Security Council Report – Update: Uganda/ LRA (April 11, 2008)

The Ugandan government may ask the Security Council to defer International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings against Lord's Resistance Army soldiers, according to Security Council Report. The article notes that by deferring the case, the Security Council hopes to induce the LRA to sign a long awaited peace-deal with the Ugandan government. The LRA claims that the ICC arrest warrants dissuade the group from negotiating. However, the author notes that by suspending the case, the Security Council will undermine the judicial independence of the ICC.

Representatives for Wanted Ugandan Rebels Visit International Criminal Court (March 10, 2008)

A delegation representing the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) visited the International Criminal Court to negotiate the dropping of charges. Though the LRA and the Ugandan government have finalized peace talks, LRA leader Joseph Kony said he would not sign a peace accord unless the ICC drops the case. Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo refused to meet with the delegation but the neutral Registry of the Court did meet them to discuss procedural details and help the LRA understand the case against them. The ICC judges can decide to drop the LRA case if the domestic legal process meets international legal standards. (International Herald Tribune)

The Uganda-LRA War Crimes Agreement and the International Criminal Court (February 25, 2008)

This article analyzes the agreement on war crimes trials reached between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Although the Rome Statute prescribes that only the International Criminal Court (ICC) can decide to drop a case, the government and the LRA have agreed to try war criminals domestically and feel ICC involvement is no longer necessary. The author hopes that continuing ICC pressure will ensure that the Ugandan judiciary will measure up to international standards. (Crimes of War Project)

UGANDA: Peace, Justice and the LRA (February 21, 2008)

The Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have reached an agreement on war crimes trials, allowing for the national prosecution of the LRA leadership, rather than prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC may drop the issued indictments, but only if national proceedings measure up to international legal standards. The responses to this development are mixed. Human Rights Watch fears the Ugandan judiciary will need massive improvements first, while Amnesty International condemns the agreement, arguing that national prosecutions might well be a "sham." (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

Death of LRA's Deputy Leader Casts Shadow Over Peace Talks (January 28, 2008)

The LRA's second in command – after Joseph Kony - Vincent Otti is dead. He was allegedly killed on the orders of Joseph Kony. This IRIN article reports on how the death of Otti might negatively influence the peace talks, as Otti appeared to be exceptionally committed to a peaceful solution to the conflict. However, David Matsanga of the LRA claimed that it remains dedicated to peace and that the peace talks are "solid like a rock of [the] river Nile." The peace talks resumed at the end of January 2008.

Kony Rejects Talks Deadline (January 9, 2008)

Talks between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to secure peace in Northern Uganda have been going on since early 2006, but recently have stalled. In an apparent bid to get the negotiations moving, Ugandan president Musevini has set January 31, 2008 as the deadline for a peace deal. This deadline, however, is deemed "a threat that undermines the peace process" by Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)


S. Sudan President Speaks on Otti's Fate (November 8, 2007)

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir says Lord's Resistance Army rebel commander, Vincent Otti is not dead, despite rumors that he was executed by LRA leader, Joseph Kony. Some witnesses say that the fate of Otti overshadows important issues including the signing of a peace agreement between the LRA and Kampala. Meanwhile, Kony is still at large, despite an ICC arrest warrant and pressure on Sudan by the UN for his capture. (Daily Monitor-Kampala)

Uganda Rebels on Historic Visit (November 1, 2007)

After extensive fighting, the rebel group Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) began negotiations with the Ugandan government. LRA leader Joseph Kony stated that he will only join the negotiations if the International Criminal Court (ICC) withdraws its arrest warrant against him. The ICC is accusing Kony of committing violent attacks against civilians and illegally recruiting children. (BBC)

Ugandan LRA Commander Surrenders (October 23, 2007)

Opiyo Makasi of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) surrendered to the Congolese police. Makasi, the LRA operation and logistics commander, will be handed over to the UN mission in Congo (MONUC). He will pass through a demobilization and reintegration process before going back to Uganda. The LRA still represent a danger in the region, especially since the rebels refuse to sign a peace agreement until the International Criminal Court drops the charges against its major leaders. (al-Jaazera)

Govt Blocks Report on North at UN Assembly (October 11, 2007)

Uganda's Permanent Representative to the UN, Francis Butagira, argues that the inclusion of a human rights report on the General Assembly agenda would amount to "political interference in Uganda's internal affairs." The Ugandan government says that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has no mandate for the report which documents abuses by government and LRA forces in the north of the country. The report was successfully blocked with the support of China, the African Group and the Group of 77 countries. (Daily Monitor - Kampala)

ICC Insists Kony Must Face Prosecution (October 11, 2007)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an outstanding arrest warrant for Joseph Kony and three other commanders of the northern Uganda guerrilla group, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Accused of crimes against humanity in DR Congo, the LRA continue to threaten the regions stability and its people. Luis Moreno Ocampo, ICC chief prosecutor, urged the international community and MONUC to support the DRC and Ugandan efforts to make these arrests. Uganda's government responded by saying it might suggest that the ICC lift the arrest warrants, if the rebels sign the peace agreement and answer to the charges. (New Vision – Kampala)

Rebel Victims Promised Compensation (October 4, 2007)

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says victims of the two decade long insurgency by rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army will be compensated. A program of reconciliation and rehabilitation is set up by the Ugandan government and funds will be allocated once a "comprehensive peace settlement is achieved in Juba." Talks aimed at ending the 21 year insurgency have been stalled and are due to resume in October 2007. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

Plan to Flush LRA Out

President Museveni of Uganda and President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have made a deal to drive out Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from the eastern part of the DRC with the apparent help of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country. The ICC spoke out against this joint venture, insisting the presidents fulfill their obligations to The Hague and bring the LRA leader Joseph Kony to trial. The Museveni-Kabila deal also angers the LRA rebels who feel it violates the ongoing peace agreement and may lead to a resumption of war in the region. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

UN report from August 2007

interviewed civilians in Northern Uganda who claim government troops and Joseph Kony's LRA rebels are both responsible for atrocities. Witnesses say rebels and army troops have committed killings, rape, abductions and looting. Those interviewed said Kony is mostly to blame for the atrocities. However, the government is accused of stalling peace agreements in order to gain foreign aid. The government denies these claims and says the report is "baseless." (Nation (Nairobi))

Uganda's LRA Rebels May Face Home-Grown Tribunal (August 29, 2007)

Uganda announces the planning of a national tribunal to try LRA war criminals, as an alternative to the ICC. According to this article, while many Ugandan survivors support traditional judicial systems, human rights activists believe that national courts will "shield the LRA from justice." If created, the national courts will try suspects accused of lesser crimes, and the UN court will try top leaders of the LRA. Elise Kepler from Human Rights Watch fears that the national courts "will not satisfy international expectations" and points out that the Rome Statute only approves of local prosecution when it administers "appropriate punishment." (Christian Science Monitor)

International Justice Must Apply in Uganda (August 28, 2007)

Ugandan judge for the Special Court for Sierra Leone Julia Sebutinde insists that the International Criminal Court, instead of a traditional justice system, try LRA leaders, as only an independent tribunal can bring justice to the perpetrators of such grave crimes. Vincent Otti, one of the indicted LRA commanders, accused the Court of being unbalanced and refuses to surrender as long as the Court does not indict the Ugandan army for its war crimes as well. In response, Sebutinde argues that the ICC charged the LRA based on its investigation, and the "indictee can't tell the prosecutor who to be indicted." (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

Making Peace Our Own - Victims' Perceptions of Accountability, Reconciliation and Transitional Justice in Northern Uganda (August 14, 2007)

This study by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) asks victims in Northern Uganda their opinions on how to proceed with reconciliation and accountability. According to the study, respondents have extremely diverse attitudes towards the reconciliation processes and blame both LRA rebels and the government for the crimes committed during the conflict. Another finding explodes the myth that northern Ugandans "are inherently forgiving, reconciliatory or willing to give amnesty." As many respondents advocate a combination of the ICC and traditional justice systems, this report highlights the need to listen to the victims' voices.

Govt to Consult LRA Victims on Juba Talks (August 14, 2007)

The Ugandan government resumes peace talks with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels after a two-month recess. The talks, which are centered on the third point of a five-point accountability and reconciliation agenda, consider the possibility of employing the traditional Acholi justice system of Mato Oput instead of conducting an ICC trial. The ICC issued arrest warrants for top LRA leaders for committing war crimes and recruiting child soldiers. The talks have been at a standstill due to a lack of US$3.9 million in funds required to conduct consultations. (Daily Monitor – Kampala)

Why the ICC Must Stop Impeding Juba Process (July 27, 2007)

Peace talks between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are at a standstill as the International Criminal Court (ICC) refuses to withdraw its arrest warrants against top LRA leaders. This Daily Monitor - Kampala article discusses the "peace versus justice" issue in Uganda and blames the ICC for delaying the process of reconciliation. The article urges the ICC to legally drop the warrants and put an end to this expensive investigation by adopting the Ugandan judicial system which includes "both accountability and civilian protection.

Kony Must Face Trial (July 12, 2007)

ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo refuses to drop arrest warrants against Joseph Kony and other Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commanders. Ocampo stresses that the court has firm evidence to prove the LRA guilty of crimes against humanity. Meanwhile, the LRA and Kampala continue peace talks and propose the traditional Acholi justice system, Mato Oput. Ocampo explains that he is merely carrying out his responsibility as the prosecutor to bring justice to Uganda. (New Vision)

For Ugandan Rebel, A Question of Justice (July 12, 2007)

Human rights experts differ on how to deal with Joseph Kony, commander of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army. On one hand, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, all advocate the imprisonment of Kony, arguing that the rebel leader's arrest will not impede peace in Uganda. On the other hand, Michael Poffenberger, executive director of Resolve Uganda, and author Jimmie Briggs insist that Kony's future be decided by Mato Oput, the traditional form of justice in the Acholi tribe. (Washington Post)

Mato Oput Not a Viable Alternative to the ICC (July 11, 2007)

This New Vision article argues that Mato Oput, the traditional Acholi judicial system, is not an acceptable alternative to the ICC trial of Joseph Kony and three other leaders of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA committed war crimes against numerous ethnic groups, most of which do not recognize Mato Oput. Moreover, after 20 years of war, Acholi leaders do not command the same authority they used to. The article also points out that compensation for crimes is a key phase of reconciliation, and that the LRA leaders cannot possibly compensate the thousands of victims.

Ugandan Rebels Fear Fate of Liberia's Taylor (June 11, 2007)

Reuters discusses the impact of the trial of Charles Taylor on leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The ICC has issued arrest warrants against four of the top LRA commanders for the crimes they have committed against civilians during the two-decade civil war. To enter peace talks with the Ugandan government, LRA leaders want assurance against further ICC involvement. Ugandan civil society is divided: while some advocate forgiveness following traditional "Mato Oput" reconciliation ritual, the ICC and some human rights groups insist that a credible judicial process must take place.

Uganda: Any Alternative to the ICC Should Meet Key Benchmarks (May 30, 2007)

Human Rights Watch asserts that any peace talks between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) must result in fair prosecutions that reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by the LRA in northern Uganda. International Justice Director Richard Dicker insists that the talks, which are an alternative to ICC trials, should include an impartial investigation, adhere to international fair trial standards and issue appropriate penalties for the crimes.

LRA and Ugandan Government Renew Truce (May 24, 2007)

Following allegations of more violence by the Lord's Resistance Army despite agreeing to uphold a ceasefire with Kampala, both sides signed a formal truce on May 19, lasting until the end of July. Negotiations are to resume on May 31. The LRA maintains that it will not arrive at a peace agreement unless and until the International Criminal Court (ICC) drops charges against LRA leaders. The ICC has repeatedly refused to do so although Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has offered LRA leaders an amnesty from domestic prosecution in exchange for a peace deal. (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

Uganda: Justice or Peace (April 2007)

At the request of the Ugandan government, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is prosecuting five Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commanders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, northern refugees and organizations in Uganda question whether the ICC's presence will bring peace to the region or hinder the peace negotiations between the LRA and Kampala. Ultimately, the Ugandan case will test the ICC's ability to bring peace and justice simultaneously. (Le Monde diplomatique)

Lord's Resistance Army in Sights of the UN Security Council President, for Action on War Crimes (February 2, 2007)

Slovakia's Ambassador Peter Burian, president of UN Security Council for February, calls for "concrete action against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)" and tells Inner City Press that he and other Security Council members did not criticize the LRA in late 2006 because the situation in Uganda "was fragile." Now, Burian fears that the LRA is using avoidance tactics against war crimes indictments issued by the International Criminal Court by making small concessions to the UN. He says that the Security Council needs to revisit recent developments in Uganda.

The International Criminal Court faces a legal and moral dilemma. After calling upon the ICC to investigate the Lord's Resistance Army for war crimes, the Ugandan government has now granted the rebels immunity as part of a peace deal to end the country's nearly 20-year civil war. By pursuing indictments against top rebel commanders, the ICC endangers the fragile peace process. On the other hand, if the Court drops the arrest warrants, it essentially abandons "its founding principle" to end immunity for the gravest crimes against humanity. (Reuters)

As talks between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army resume, diplomats express hope that the parties can arrive at a settlement within a month. The rebels dropped their initial demand that the government forces agree to a truce as a prerequisite to dialogue and have now agreed to continue the talks despite the killing of a leading member of the LRA by the Ugandan army. In return they hope the Ugandan government will request that the International Criminal Court revoke its arrest warrants on LRA leader Joseph Kony and his senior colleagues. (Independent)

The Ugandan government's amnesty offer to leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) violates international law, says Amnesty International. Only the International Criminal Court has the authority to drop its previously-issued indictments against the notorious rebel group. This statement calls for sustainable peace initiatives that promote accountability for crimes against humanity and ensure full reparations for the LRA's victims. The statement highlights the possibility of pursuing both justice and peace, instead of perpetuating a "system of impunity."

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has struggled to carry out investigations in Uganda without alienating victims who prefer the traditional system of reconciliation. Some Ugandan politicians and religious leaders fear that the ICC's quest for justice will impede peace talks between the government and the rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). However, other local leaders point to the LRA chief Joseph Kony's denial of alleged crimes against humanity as a significant obstacle to the traditional reconciliation process. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

Uganda seeks to convince the International Criminal Court to drop arrest warrants for Lord's Resistance Army leaders to encourage the rebel group's participation in peace talks to end nearly two decades of conflict. The Ugandan delegation to the Sudan-mediated talks support President Yoweri Museveni's offer of amnesty and prefer the use of "traditional justice" which emphasizes reconciliation and forgiveness. (Agence France Presse)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) reiterates that Uganda has a legal obligation to arrest rebel group leader Joseph Kony, despite President Yoweri Museveni's amnesty offer. While Museveni chides the ICC for failing to capture Kony and other top Lord's Resistance Army commanders, some lawyers criticize the Ugandan government's inconsistency. Museveni referred the case to the ICC in 2004 and passed an act in April 2006 denying Kony amnesty. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

Uganda is pushing for "regional cooperation" in its efforts to hunt down and apprehend Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group leader Joseph Kony and his associates. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni called on the Sudanese and Congolese governments, as well as the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), known as MONUC, to help capture Kony and "hand him over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague so as to end impunity." Museveni has repeatedly threatened to invade DRC if the LRA attacks Kampala from bases in northeastern Congo. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

Local chief peace mediator in northern Uganda, Betty Bigombe, claims that International Criminal Court (ICC) involvement in indicting Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leaders was "ill-timed." The Ugandan government referred the case to the ICC, but Bigombe believes the court should have given a chance to the local peace initiative based on traditional reconciliation methods. (International War and Peace Reporting)

The humanitarian crisis in Northern Uganda has worsened, peace and mediation processes stalled and ICC warrants remain unexecuted. This report from the International Crisis Group outlines the need for a new government strategy in Uganda to address these factors if they are committed to peace in Northern Uganda and accountability for LRA members. The effort must be domestic, regional and international.

The author stresses the importance of trying rebel groups, such as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), in the International Criminal Court (ICC), in order for the victims of LRA human rights violations to receive justice. LRA fighters, including their leader Joseph Kony, have systematically violated international humanitarian laws, including the Geneva Convention and its Protocols. Therefore, the government of Uganda must step up its efforts to find and try these perpetrators, both for victims' justice, and to bolster the rule of law in Africa. (New Vision)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in Uganda will pioneer a new legal course to punish crimes of atrocity. However, many difficulties and obstacles arise. The ICC's task is more than merely a legal one. To succeed, the ICC must address ongoing insurgency, capture suspects and assist Uganda in regaining order. To ensure accountability of Lord's Resistance Army commanders Uganda needs UN peacekeeping assistance and increased military capacity. (International Crisis Group)

The Lord's Resistance Army has forced internally displaced persons (IDPs) into refugee camps in Uganda. In this article, IDPs express their views on International Criminal Court (ICC) action in Northern Uganda. The IDPs' opinions divide between those who place hope in the reconciliation process and those who believe the ICC will be successful. Many IDPs fear the LRA's reaction to the ICC indictment of former LRA commanders. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

International Criminal Court officials issued their first-ever indictments, formally incriminating high-ranked officials of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. While this is a historic move for the court, the arrest warrants "scuttle the amnesty option" for LRA fighters, and thus change the dynamics of peace negotiations, which Ugandan activists have worked for months to achieve. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

International Criminal Court officials may have had political motivations for issuing an indictment of Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. The US government recognizes Kony as the leader of a "terrorist group." The US does not, however, recognize the ICC. The hunt for Kony provides an opportunity to reconcile this paradox, and perhaps force the Bush administration to grant legitimacy to the ICC. (American Prospect)

Human Rights Watch released a scathing report, which implicates both the Lord's Resistance Army and the Ugandan Army in breaches of human rights and international law in Northern Uganda. Because the Ugandan government has failed to hold members of its military accountable for atrocities committed against civilians, the International Criminal Court should consider these cases in addition to its rebel army investigations.

The Refugee Law Project questions whether the ICC is the most suitable instrument to establish justice in Northern Uganda, and explores the possibility of traditional approaches meeting the requirements of international law. The paper pays special attention to the implications of trying to give rise to justice when its claimed precursor, peace, has not yet taken hold.

Ugandans continue to debate the merits of traditional courts versus the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to seek justice for the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army. The Association of Women in Development argues that women may be better off if the proponents of the ICC get their way, because a legal process based on traditional principles will likely be gender-exclusionary, and will not explicitly abide by international human rights standards that have a positive effect on women's lives.

Since the International Criminal Court began investigations in Uganda, controversy has arisen about carrying out prosecutions in the midst of an unresolved conflict. While many national and global actors have added their opinions, they have left a primary demographic out of the ongoing debate on the ICC in Uganda: Northern Ugandans themselves. This report, released jointly by the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, reports that Northern Ugandans, the individuals most targeted by the Lord's Resistance Army, overwhelmingly favor the intervention of the ICC in ending the conflict.

Reuters reports that Ugandans are divided over the impact the International Criminal Court will have on their country, and question whether the Court should intervene in ongoing conflicts. Worried that the "Western" model of justice will intensify violence and fail to provide lasting peace, many victims wish to turn to traditional atonement rituals.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, must decide whether to indict Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army leaders for crimes against humanity. Some Ugandan community leaders argue that it will undermine the fragile peace process if he proceeds with the indictments. Human rights groups say Moreno-Ocampo has a legal duty to prosecute, and postponing the arrest warrants only perpetuates injustice. The author of this International Herald Tribune piece advocates for the latter course of action which "the interests of justice and also the interests of peace require."

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has announced it is almost ready to issue arrest warrants for rebel leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, but some victims of the violence want the Court to back off. They prefer to forgive and reconcile with individuals accused of atrocities, many of whom were captured as children and forced to fight. ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that the Court has agreed to integrate traditional justice with peace talks and international investigations, but for many Ugandans "the line between victim and killer is too blurred." (New York Times)

This Crisis States Research Centre report provides an in-depth analysis of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) role in Uganda. Critics warn that ICC investigations have intensified regional violence, endangered vulnerable groups and disrupted the local peace process, but the author refutes such arguments and explains that improved peace prospects after the ICC's involvement are "more than just a coincidence."

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will begin investigating Ugandan war crimes, but commentators worry that ICC intervention will disrupt promising peace negotiations between the government and Lord's Resistance Army. Some Ugandan observers also doubt the court's ability to work with local judicial traditions, which focus on "restorative justice" as opposed to the "retributive justice" of the ICC. (CNN)

Prosecutors anticipate that the International Criminal Court will begin trying its first war crimes cases in Uganda within six months, followed soon after by hearings for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The trials will concentrate on those individuals considered most responsible for the human rights abuses in their countries, leaving national courts to try soldiers and other subordinates. (Reuters)

In late 2003, the Ugandan government referred the crimes occurring in Northern Uganda to the International Criminal Court (ICC), but a government-friendly Ugandan newspaper recently reported that the state wants to withdraw its referral to the ICC and instead use "internal reconciliation mechanisms." Amnesty International questions the validity of the withdrawal and the capability of the state to independently investigate crimes committed by both the rebel and government forces.

ICC Team Arrives to Prepare LRA Probe (August 26, 2004)

The Ugandan government is promising full cooperation with the International Criminal Court team that has arrived to prepare for the upcoming war crimes investigation, but human rights groups are calling for the ICC to probe crimes committed by government officials as well. (Integrated Regional Information Networks)

War Crimes Court Probes Uganda Atrocities (July 29, 2004)

The International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigation into atrocities in northern Uganda will include any crime committed since July 1, 2001 and is "not restricted to any party." The investigation, therefore, will not be limited to the Lord's Resistance Army, which allegedly carried out the attacks. (Agence France Presse)

In Uncharted Waters: Seeking Justice Before the Atrocities Have Stopped (June 2004)

This report analyses the role and effectiveness of the International Criminal Court's (ICC) investigations in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The report concludes that the ICC could play a positive role in resolving ongoing conflicts while fostering the rule of law and promoting social justice. (Citizens for Global Solutions)

A Crucial Case for the International Criminal Court (February 26, 2004)

The International Herald Tribunal argues that Luis Moreno Ocampo's handling of the Uganda case will determine international perceptions of the International Criminal Court's competence and credibility. The article urges Ocampo to "make clear that while he welcomes [governmental] cooperation, his office operates independently."

Luis Moreno Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, will investigate the massacre committed on February 21, 2004 in Barlonya camp, northeastern Uganda. Ocampo will gather information from the region to see if there is enough evidence to launch a legal probe. (Agence France Presse)

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court picked prominent former US federal prosecutor, Christine Chung, to lead the court's first investigation into crimes against humanity in Uganda . By choosing Ms. Chung, who has no prior experience with war crimes or international tribunals, Ocampo is "cleverly reaching out to the Americans to try to show them that the court is a valuable tool in foreign policy." (Wall Street Journal)

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni asked the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against humanity by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army. Since 2002 the court has received hundreds of requests to investigate alleged war crimes, most of them involving the US-led conflict in Iraq, but Uganda's case is the first to fall clearly under the court's jurisdiction. (Associated Press)



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