[QODLink]
Archive
LRA issues Uganda peace caveat

Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army has said it will not agree to a final peace deal with the government unless international war crimes charges against its top leaders are dropped.

Last Modified: 06 Sep 2006 13:02 GMT
Josephy Kony is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes

Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army has said it will not agree to a final peace deal with the government unless international war crimes charges against its top leaders are dropped.

Vincent Otti, the deputy leader of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and one of five leaders with outstanding warrants against them from the International Criminal Court, said on Tuesday his fighters would remain in the bush as long as the warrants were active.

Under the terms of a truce agreed last week between LRA fighters and the Ugandan government, the LRA has two weeks to gather at two assembly points in southern Sudan while peace talks continue in the region's capital, Juba.

"No rebel will come out unless the ICC revokes the indictments," Otti told Kampala's KFM radio by satellite phone.

Cristian Palme, an ICC spokesman, said the world court had no comment on Otti's remarks.

"This peace process remains at an early stage. Justice and peace have worked together so far and will continue to work together," he said.

Amnesty offer

The ICC has said leaders of the LRA should face war crime charges and has urged the execution of its arrest warrants issued last year for numerous counts of atrocities allegedly committed during their brutal, two-decade war, one of Africa's longest.

Last week, the deputy prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said she still hoped the LRA leaders would be arrested.

The war in Uganda has lasted
nearly 20 years

However, with no police force to hunt down its targets, the ICC must rely on Ugandan, Sudanese and former southern Sudanese rebel troops to bring them to justice.

Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, has offered the five indictees a blanket amnesty if they agree to a peace deal and hinted at a possible extension of a deadline he set for September 12 to reach an agreement if the talks are showing progress.

Otti and the LRA leader Joseph Kony have refused to attend the negotiations for fear of arrest, but have said they are committed to reaching a negotiated settlement.

One of the indictees, Raska Lukwiya, was killed last month by the Ugandan army before the truce went into force, but another, Dominic Ongwen, this week led a group of rebels out of the bush and met Ugandan military officers on their way to one of the camps.

Peace incentive

But Otti said the arrival of LRA fighters at the camps - Ri-Kwangba near Sudan's western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Owiny-Ki-Bul near Sudan's southern border with Uganda - did not mean the war was over.

"The indictment should remain until Kony agrees to get out of his criminal activities"

Yoweri Museveni, Ugandan president

"Being in Ri-Kwangba does not mean I am out," he said.  "Ri-Kwangba is a place where there is LRA only, it is in the bush."

On Saturday, Museveni renewed the amnesty offer but said he would not ask ICC prosecutors to drop the charges unless a comprehensive settlement is reached, suggesting they are an incentive to the peace talks.

"The indictment should remain until [LRA leader Joseph] Kony agrees to get out of his criminal activities," he told reporters.

"Once Kony does that, we should dialogue with the ICC to inform them that we have an alternative solution to this problem and we would like them to leave these indictments."

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.