Monday, November 15, 2004

Uganda: president willing to drop ICC case

The government is ready to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to stop its investigation of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) if the LRA is prepared to make peace.

In January of this year, the LRA became the first organization to be investigated by the ICC.

According to a story in today's New Vision, President Museveni said ...
"The Konys can come out and engage in internal reconciliation mechanisms put in place by the Acholi community such as mataput or blood settlement. The state could then withdraw its case and we could inform the ICC that we have a solution to the Kony problem. That is what the ICC wants. No cover-up, no impunity." (source)
Yesterday, the government announced a weeklong ceasefire with the LRA. Museveni said he declared the ceasefire to allow the LRA leadership to gather and decide what they want to discuss with the government.

More ...
[...] Uganda's former minister in charge of northern Uganda, Betty Bigombe, had received "clear indications from Kony's group that they want to end the conflict."

[...] Bigombe, who currently works for the World Bank, is preferred – mainly - by the rebel force as the leading mediator.

"Bigombe has, therefore, proposed a seven-day suspension to allow the leadership to meet," the [government] press statement added. "The next step is for the LRA to prepare a statement indicating that they have accepted President Museveni's peace gesture, after which, the Ugandan government will declare a further 10-day truce in the entire region."

In 1994, Bigombe tried to mediate a peace process between the government and the LRA, but the process collapsed when Museveni gave the insurgents an ultimatum of seven days to surrender or "face the might of the army".

In August 2002, Museveni offered to talk to the LRA, saying his government would, under certain conditions, halt operations against the LRA and open talks to end the conflict. Museveni also named a government negotiation team. At the time, Museveni asked the rebels to gather in specific areas both in southern Sudan and northern Uganda, but the rebels said they feared a trap was being set up. (source)