Uganda’s rebel Lord Resistance Army (LRA) says it will sign documents needed by President Yoweri Museveni government to seek the suspension or removal of the indictment on the rebel commanders today (Monday). The rebels’ say they will only disarm after International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrants against its top commanders are suspended or removed. The commander of the rebels Joseph Kony is expected to sign a final peace deal this week, which will officially end over two decades of rebel insurgency in northern Uganda, blamed for the loss of lives and property.
The rebels are accusing the Uganda government of failing to lift the indictments as promised. David Matsanga is the leader of the rebel peace delegation. From the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba he tells reporter Peter Clottey that the indictments need to be removed to have peace in northern Uganda to be restored.
“We will like to state the following which is very clear that DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration) will not commence until the Uganda government goes to the United Nations Security Council to remove the warrants that are on General Joseph Kony, and others before we embark to disarmament to demobilize and re-integrate. We agree that the Uganda government needs the document to take to the United Nations Security Council in order to remove warrants against our commanders,” Matsanga noted.
He said the rebels are waiting to hearing from Uganda’s president to know their next line of action.
“Until those warrants are removed and I get a clean sheet of landing from President Museveni that those warrants are removed we will not disarm. These are my instructions from General Joseph Kony, period. That means the LRA still waits for the DDR to commence after the warrants have been removed,” he said.
Matsanga said the rebels want the Uganda president to live up to his word.
“President Museveni has said that once these documents are signed, he will go to the United Nations Security Council and remove the warrants. So we want to test Museveni with that one,” Matsanga pointed out.
He maintains that the rebels will not disarm as long as the indictments hold.
“How can you expect people to disarm when the warrants are still with them? You see the Uganda government has signed agenda number three, which says that they will not take general Joseph Kony, and others to The Hague. The ICC is redundant because the LRA has already signed an agreement with the Uganda government that says that they will not take our people to The Hague. We want that back on the table. So, all what we are saying at the moment is that the ball is in President Yoweri Museveni’s court,” he said.
The ICC has reportedly said it warrants wants to maintain the arrest warrants, but the U.N. Security Council could ask them to be put on hold if there was a real chance for peace.