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Uganda LRA Rebels Mulls Over Third Agenda Item

In Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Rebels say they are discussing the third item on the agenda of their ongoing peace talks with the Ugandan government which is accountability and reconciliation. The rebels say they are determined to find a lasting peace with President Yoweri Museveni’s government despite what they called the complex nature of the talks. Meanwhile the LRA delegates to the Juba peace talks have been given presidential guards as part of the new security arrangement to boost their confidence and protection. This comes after the rebels complained about insecurity in Juba.

James Obita is the technical advisor to the rebels at the ongoing peace talks. From Juba, he told VOA that the rebels are determined to finding a lasting peace.

“Half of our delegation has gone to brief the high command about agenda number two that is comprehensive solutions, that we signed last week with the government of Uganda, and they are back today. And there was another team that remained behind to work on agenda number three, which is accountability and reconciliation. We are working on the principles of that agreement,” Obita noted.

He said the rebels are serious about a permanent peace deal despite the arrest warrants against their top leadership.

“We want to be very, very clear and straight forward. We want to ensure that this agreement does not miss its intentions. We want to make the world know that we would not condone impunity; we would like to ensure that the victims have seen that justice has been carried out in this process. And we would like to ensure that at the end of the day there is reconciliation in the whole country,” he said.

Obita said the LRA rebels have suggested to the International Criminal Court (ICC) the need to have an alternative justice system to counter the ICC’s warrant.

“We would like to come up with an alternative method of justice that would meet the standards that is acceptable to the ICC and international community. The standards we are going to set is going to be so, so stringent and so transparent that even the ICC will believe us that we are serious,” he pointed out.

He said the rebels are willing to accept their wrongs and any associated consequences.

“This is not a method of camouflaging guilt. We would like to come out straight and say that where we have gone wrong, we are ready to accept it. And where there is going to be punishment, we are ready for it. But it got to be through the alternative justice, that is the traditional method that we have suggested,” he noted.

Obita said the rebels want the third agreement to be unique.

“Right now we are busy preparing the principles about the third agenda item. But you know the implementation and the modalities of the implementation are so complex that we have decided to break it into a two-phase process. We want to set that principle that would stand the test of time… for the first time ever, a peace process that is being conducted when arrest warrants have been issued by the ICC… so its not that simple. Its complex, but we are dealing with it,” he said.

He said the rebels are now content with the security arrangements in Juba.

“We are happy with the security arrangements that have been beefed up of late. We are not complaining anymore because the presidential guards have been put in place now, we have reviewed the security situation together with the government of Southern Sudan, and we have no complaints about that whatsoever now,” he said.