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War Crimes Prosecutor Refuses to Meet With Ugandan Rebels

The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court says he will not meet with Ugandan rebels who want war crimes charges against their leaders to be dropped before signing a peace deal.

In a statement Tuesday, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo suggested that the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA, pursue any challenge to the charges through the ICC's court system.

He released the statement following word that LRA leader Joseph Kony is sending representatives to meet with the prosecutor about dropping the indictments.

On Friday, the LRA and Uganda's government signed an accord that calls for the rebels' disarmament and demobilization. But rebel leaders have said they will not sign a final peace deal unless the ICC indictments are lifted.

In his statement Tuesday, Moreno-Ocampo said he is confident he has a solid case against rebel leaders.

The prosecutor accused Kony and three other LRA commanders of slaughtering entire communities in northern Uganda. He also accused them of abducting thousands of children and transforming them into killers and sex slaves.

The fighting in northern Uganda has died down since the rebels and government signed a cease-fire in 2006.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.