A Uganda Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel peace-negotiating team will be meeting peace talks mediator Riek Machar today after the mediator summoned the delegation with news from the government’s negotiating team about finding a solution to international arrest warrants posted against the rebels’ top leadership.
The rebels maintain the warrants are the main stumbling block to signing the peace deal that will officially end more than two decades of a rebel insurgency in northern Uganda. From the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba, the chairman of the LRA negotiating team David Matsanga tells reporter Peter Clottey that the rebels will know their next step of action after hearing from the mediator.
“When we were in The Hague, we discovered that there were many things that were not in line, and were of the opinion that we have to discuss these things with the registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC). And they gave me the best of receptions. We were given all the documents, and we talked to the registry, and we told them about our displeasure about the way the warrants have been handled -- the way the Uganda case was handled by the prosecutor. And we narrated all these things to the registry, and it was taken very seriously,” Matsanga noted.
He said the rebel delegation uncovered the ICC’s ultimatum to President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
“While we were there, we discovered that there was a ruling against, that had been made against the government of the Republic of Uganda for failing actually to comply fully with the information that they were supposed to supply to the ICC. And the government of Uganda has been given up to the 28th of this month to supply to the court in The Hague with all the details regarding the peace process,’ he said.
Matsanga said the rebel delegation with the mediator of the peace process would determine what the rebels do in the future.
“We shall be meeting this afternoon at 3 p.m. The Uganda delegation has been called back to Juba for us to now say what they have got on the table. Have they got the warrants removed, if they have the papers to show us? What did they have, which can convince the LRA, so that we can also take this document and tell the world, and tell general Joseph Kony that the Uganda government has done this, dropped the warrants? And that is why the chief mediator has called us,” Matsanga pointed out.
He said there was no way the rebels’ will sign a final peace agreement with Uganda’s government if the arrest warrants are not removed.
“We have told the Uganda government that they must drop the warrants. They must ask the court to drop the warrants. Without dropping the warrants, the journey looks longer. And we want to make it categorically clear that the obstacle is the warrants, and we have requested the Uganda government, and we are telling them that these warrants must be dropped. They must go to all roots to the Security Council in New York and ask for the suspension and the removal of the warrants,” he noted.