Uganda to pass law shielding rebels from trial by The Hague

Kampala – Uganda said Wednesday that it will enact a law that would protect the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) guerillas from trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC) which indicted the leaders of the brutal rebel group for war crimes two years ago.

The Hague-based ICC issued arrest warrants in 2005 for five LRA leaders, a cult-like bush army that waged a 20-year insurgency in northern Uganda, leaving thousands of civilians dead and maimed while close to 2 million were flushed out of their homes.

The LRA has been abducting thousands of children who were forced to fight and commit atrocities while the girls were turned into sex slaves.

In a surprise move, the Ugandan government issued a blanket amnesty for the LRA in mid-2006, opened peace talks with the rebels and announced that they would be tried under the mostly forgiving traditional courts used by tribes in the war-ravaged northern region.

The talks are mediated by the semi-autonomous southern Sudanese government.

The two sides are holding consultations over the judicial system that would handle the indicted LRA leaders at the moment.

The Ugandan government now wants to draft legislation to try the LRA.

Officials from the government peace team told reporters that a hybrid law is to be tabled before parliament to help the LRA rebels to escape the ICC.

A hybrid law comprising a Western model and (the tribal) Mato-Oput will be enacted.

“The law will help the LRA rebels escape the ICC. Parliament will enact the law after the outcome of the peace consultations,” the head of the peace talks support committee, Ruth Nankabirwa, said.


RNB Comment:

Note that the United States of America — afraid that its soldiers and leaders could be held accountable for war crimes (as they should) — has worked hard to undermine the International Criminal Court (just as it has worked hard to undermine justice, human rights treaties, and international law in its efforts to justify illegal warfare and persistant human rights violations).

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This post was last updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 3:47 PM, Central European Time (CET)