Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Ugandan Court Being Set Up to Try Atrocities in Place of the International Criminal Court

The latest development in the saga of the International Criminal Court in northern Uganda is reported yesterday, by Reuters. It says Uganda has appointed judges to preside over a special war crimes tribunal to try leaders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued its first arrest warrants, directed against five of the rebel leaders. Probably only two of them are still alive.
It is widely acknowleged that the arrest warrants pushed the rebels to the negotiating tables, and helped promote peace in Northern Uganda. However, the rebels wanted the arrest warrants lifted as part of a peace deal, something that the International Criminal Court has resisted. The special tribunal was agreed to in peace talks, although the agreement has not yet been signed.
We have come up with ... the people who will be behind this special court, which will be mandated to handle serious crimes and human rights abuses that amount to war crimes," Principal Judge James Ogoola told Reuters."We still have a lot of work to do. We have to come up with a special law which has to be enacted by government to make sure that these prosecutions suit international standards," said Ogoola, who will head the three-judge tribunal. Reuters says that alhough the Ugandan constitution allows for a death penalty, Ogoola said the proposed law would exclude the sentence to suit international standards.

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