Wednesday, March 19, 2008

AI miffed at M7's decision

KAMPALA - Amnesty International has voiced its concerns over President Museveni’s deal seeking to avoid the country's obligation to hand over rebel leaders to an international court. Speaking in London last week, President Yoweri Museveni said rebel leaders would be allowed to atone for crimes through a traditional "blood settlement", avoiding prison and judgment by the ICC.

Amnesty International said Museveni's comments cast "serious doubt on whether the government intends to implement provisions in the agreement for the investigation and prosecution of the LRA leaders" wanted by the ICC. “The LRA leaders wanted by the ICC must be immediately arrested and surrendered to the court even if the suspects or Uganda challenged the admissibility of the case in The Hague court,” Amnesty International said in the statement yesterday. It urged Uganda to revise its laws to criminalize genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and extrajudicial executions. It also called for full and effective reparations for the victims.

LRA leader Joseph Kony, who is believed to be hiding in remote eastern DRC together with his four commanders, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague over crimes against humanity. Government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels signed an agreement in February on how to deal with war crimes committed during one of Africa's longest-running and most brutal civil wars. But the deal stipulates that the Ugandan government will set up special war crimes courts to handle the gravest crimes, while traditional justice would be used for others. The rebels insist a final peace deal depends on the ICC scrapping war crimes indictments against their four leaders.

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