Uganda’s Minister for Security Amama Mbabazi is at the Hague, Netherlands to speak about Uganda’s offer of amnesty to the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Jospeh Kony. Mr. Kony is under indictment by the International Criminal Court. Recently, President Yoweri Museveni’s offered Kony amnesty if he were to renounce violence. The ICC says Kony and his four commanders should be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, the LRA has refused requests to send Kony, and his deputy, Vincent Otti, to talks that were scheduled to begin yesterday.
Kirunda Kivajinja is Uganda’s minister of information. He spoke with Voice of America reporter Peter Clottey about the uncertain state of the peace talks. “We’ve been suffering under the hands of these resistance army for the last twenty years. One of the reasons why they have taken so long was exactly because we never had reliable partners in the region to handle such a situation. They were using our neighbors Sudan as their real base. Now with the region change and Southern Sudan attaining virtual autonomy, then they found out that they could no longer operate freely. So this is a chance now that he is completely defeated we give him (Kony) an offer that if he denounces terrorism and accept to come out of the bush with the rebels remnants, that will mark a historical end to the sufferings of our people for good. And it is because of that possibility that’s why the president decided that for such historical sake we can afford to grant him amnesty.”
Kivajinja says the government hopes the offer of amnesty will have a significant impact on the peace talks. “We are not in direct touch with them, we are through a third party. And this is also another historical development because we’ve never had a third party. Now with the third party we have given the mediator the option that tell them that we are even prepared to give them amnesty unconditionally if at all they end rebellion. And this becomes the last act of ever rising up to terrorize our people.”
The Ugandan official says “You have to understand that Kony was committing all these atrocities when the international criminal court was also around. And it is we who alerted it that by the way you are talking about terrorism everywhere but we’ve been terrorized for the last twenty years. It was at that time that they realized that there was a terrorist called Kony. They investigated and found that our allegation were true. And then issued the criminal warrant for his arrest. Now the question is, that having been done the International Criminal Court was not in a position to arrest because Kony was not anywhere in our territory. He was in Sudan government then and they could not be able to reach him.”
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