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Uganda: New articles, opinions and audiovisual materials
27 May 2010
Please find below information about recent developments related to the International Criminal Court's investigation in Uganda.
This message includes the latest news articles, in particular on the upcoming ICC Review Conference and on the signature by US President of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (I), as well as related opinions (II) and audiovisual materials (III).
Please take note of the Coalition's policy on situations before the ICC (below), which explicitly states that the CICC will not take a position on potential and current situations before the Court or situations under analysis. The Coalition, however, will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC.
I. LATEST NEWS
(1) KAMPALA TO HOST ICC REVIEW CONFERENCE
i. "UN boss to visit Uganda this month", by Francis Emorut (The New Vision), 6 May 2010 http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/718726
"The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, will visit the country on May 30, to preside over the International Criminal Court (ICC) review conference in Kampala.
... Blaak, who is also the deputy head of mission to Brussels, said the review conference will discuss aggression and the impact of the ICC on the affected communities, especially in northern Uganda. ..."
ii. "NGOs lobby for states commitment ahead of ICC meet," by Ismail Musa Ladu (Daily Monitor), 21 May 2010, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/922660/-/x05fuy/-/
"More than 500 non governmental organisation (NGO) representatives will attend the first ever review conference of the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, Daily Monitor has learnt.
The NGOs want member states to recommit themselves to the ICC's founding treaty-the Rome Statute.
... Beginning May 31 to June 11, ICC member countries and observer states, international organisations, NGOs, and other participants will discuss among others, crime of aggression, the plight of LRA victims basing on a report being compiled by experts and re-examine the role of partner states in enforcing its obligations that will allow smooth operation of the court.
'This gathering will also help identify areas in which the court's positive impact can be further strengthened,' The CICC convenor, Mr William Pace, said...."
iii. "Museveni Lined Up for Leaders' Charity Game", by Norman Katende (New Vision), 5 May 2010, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/30/718614
"President Yoweri Museveni will join high profile leaders in a match for peace at Namboole. It will be one of the activities to curtain raise for the review conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The match due May 30 will be for the victims of crimes tried by the ICC, which include wars, crimes against humanity and genocide. The conference will take place starting May 31 in Kampala."
iv. "ICC Review Conference: Renewing Commitment to Accountability," FIDH Report, 25 May 2010, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/KampalaCPI543a25May2010_en.pdf
v. "Civil Society Declaration on Africa and the Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court", HRW, 24 May 2010, http://www.hrw.org/node/90620
vi. "Human Rights Group Calls for Stronger International Criminal Court," by Michael Onyiego (VOA), 12 May 2010, http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/human-rights/Human-Rights-Group-Calls-for-Stronger-International-Criminal-Court--93585654.html
vii. UN Secretary General, Uganda President to play football," by Geof Magga (Afrik.com), 21 May 2010, http://en.afrik.com/article17672.html
To read more on the Review Conference, see: http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/?mod=review
(2) US PRESIDENT SIGNS LRA DISARMAMENT AND NORTHERN UGANDA RECOVERY ACT
i. ?Obama signs new law on LRA rebels,? By Tabu Butagira (Daily Monitor), 26 May 2010, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/925830/-/x07kbq/-/
?US President Barack Obama yesterday signed a new law requiring high American involvement in ending the Lord?s Resistance Army rebel menace and warned the rebel commanders to surrender or get captured.
?We call on the ranks of the LRA to disarm and surrender,? Mr Obama said, according to a Statement from the White House press office after he signed the Lord?s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. ?We believe that the leadership of the LRA should be brought to justice.?
... The President said the Act reinforces US commitment towards a ?comprehensive and lasting resolution? to the LRA question in partnership with regional governments and through multilateral efforts.
? The Ugandan military spokesperson, Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, yesterday welcomed the legislation but said ?there will be no American boots in the jungles? chasing LRA fighters hiding in DR Congo and the Central African Republican. The US has been providing training, logistical support and military intelligence to UPDF to defeat the LRA.?
ii. "Congress Passes Bipartisan Bill to End Deadly Lord's Resistance Army", Joint Press Release by Enough Project, Resolve Uganda, and Invisible Children, 13 May 2010, http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/MUMA-85DVYU?OpenDocument
"Congress has passed a bill with broad bipartisan support calling upon the Obama administration to lead international efforts to end the threat to civilians posed by the brutal Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA. This historic legislation demonstrates Americans' broad and deep determination to see new action from President Obama to help apprehend Joseph Kony and other top LRA commanders who are wanted by the International Criminal Court. The bill provides support to disarm and disband Kony's militia, and to restore stability to those areas of Africa that have been terrorized by their history of mass atrocities, child abductions, and other horrific acts.
The House of Representatives passed the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 (S.1067) by voice vote. This vote constitutes the most significant action Congress has taken to date to end the LRA's long reign of terror and restore lasting peace for the central African communities devastated by war...."
iii. "Obama endorses anti-Kony legislation," by Barbara Among (New Vision), 25 ?May 2010?, http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/720730
iv. "Obama commits US to helping hunt for LRA leader Joseph Kony,"
by Max Delany (Christian Science Monitor),25 May 2010?, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2010/0525/Obama-commits-US-to-helping-hunt-for-LRA-leader-Joseph-Kony
v. "US lawmakers demand plan to fight Uganda rebels", (AFP), 13 May 2010, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5goHW8pcKJ820GC2qT8sGw6cSMqSA
(3) OTHER NEWS
i. "Uganda Army Seeks More Funding To Flush LRA Rebels Out of Congo, CAR", by Nicholas Bariyo (Morning Star), 6 May 2010, http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/201005060134DOWJONESDJONLINE000267_univ.xml
ii. "Army Wants Shs25 Billion to Hunt Down Kony", by Mercy Nalugo (Daily Monitor), 6 May 2010, http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/913042/-/wyjgjd/-/index.html
iii. "LRA Resumes Attacks in South Sudan," by Alisha Ryu (VOA), 19 May 2010, http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/east/LRA-Resumes-Attacks-in-South-Sudan-94275329.html
i. "Ugandans Call for Economic Justice", by Bill Oketch, Florence Ogola, Blake Evans-Pritchard (IWPR), 11 May 2010, http://www.iwpr.net/report-news/ugandans-call-economic-justice
"Amid focus on punishing war criminals, victims say they need help to rebuild their lives.
Moses Ogwang's remote village of Te-Yao, in Otwal sub-county, northern Uganda, was destroyed by Lord's Resistance Army, LRA, rebel forces in 2000.
Three of his brothers were abducted during the raid, and his family's possessions were looted. Since then, he has been struggling to rebuild his life.
'We are not saying that taking [LRA leader Joseph] Kony to the International Criminal Court [ICC] is bad, but this will be of no use if our homes are not rebuilt,' he said.
Ogwang is one of a group of citizens from the Lango region who are suing the government for damages that they suffered during the years-long struggle between the Ugandan army and the LRA, which continues sporadically.
So far, over 50,000 war victims have joined the Lango War Claimants Association, LAWCAS. According to their lawyer, Makmot Kibwanga, more than 20,000 have already filed their claims at the High Court in the town of Lira.
The claimants are demanding compensation for the harm caused by the LRA, arguing that it was the responsibility of the government to protect them against rebel raids.
They also want Kampala to pay for animals that were slaughtered by government soldiers during the insurgency...."
... Total claims amount to 1.4 trillion Ugandan shillings (650 billion US dollars).
There is some doubt about whether the war claimants will be successful in their pursuit of justice, since claims should have been filed within two years of damages being incurred.
But lawyers for the victims argue that this time constraint could be disputed in cases where victims felt their life would have been threatened if they had come forward sooner.
The government, meanwhile, has been keen to settle the claims out of court....
The ICC has made some attempts of its own to address the needs of victims.
One of the criticisms of many war crimes tribunals in the past is that the successful prosecution of those who committed atrocities has rarely left the affected communities better off.
A Trust Fund for Victims, TFV, administered by the ICC, was set up in part to counter such criticism.
The TFV has a fairly small budget - just 1.4 million euro (1.8 million dollars) was spent on projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, and Uganda in 2008.
But Kristin Kalla, acting executive director of the TFV, says that the fund's "targeted approach" allows the money to get to those who really need it, and fill some of the gaps that are not being adequately addressed by other organisations in the region.
'We found that there were no organisations focusing on providing support for the victims that were mutilated in northern Uganda,' Kalla said. 'For these people, our ability to provide plastic and reconstructive surgery twice a year has been something that has changed their lives and the lives of those living in their communities.'
The TFV also helps to provide psychological support to those who have suffered the traumas of war - another area where Kalla says there has been a lack of local expertise.
'We have been really focusing on building local capacity, to ensure that the TFV rehabilitation support is sustainable and can be carried forward by other donors," Kalla said. "We're not there for long-term development, but for shorter-term rehabilitation and possibly administering ... reparations if instructed to do so by the ICC.'
Under the terms of its founding Rome Statute, the ICC can order a convicted war criminal to make reparations to victims, and can select the TFV as the vehicle through which to make these payments.
However, since no case before the ICC has yet run to completion, this function of the TFV has not been put to the test so far.
Kampala remains critical of the TFV, saying that more should be done.
'It is sometimes difficult to see what they are doing,' said Todwong, from the Ugandan government. 'They come here and meet victims, but nothing seems to change. The Ugandan government is raising a lot of awareness about war victims, and we would like to know what the TFV is doing.'
Kalla responds by highlighting some of the challenges faced in delivering aid to northern Uganda. In particular, since aid is directly linked to the ICC's judicial process, the TFV operates under strict parameters laid down by court judges.
The branding of TFV support can sometimes be difficult, too, because NGOs that are delivering the aid do not always want to be associated with the ICC. ..."
ii. "Stopping the LRA is not all about Kony", by Thierry Vircoulon (GlobalPost), 30 April 2010, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/uganda/vircoulon-stopping-the-LRA-is-not-all-about-kony.aspx
"'I just don't understand why we cannot end this scourge', said Hillary Clinton in February, dismayed and perplexed at why the Lord's Resistance Army is still spilling blood on the soil of central Africa. The question troubles many a sympathetic soul.
It is more than 20 years since Joseph Kony first inspired some ethnic Acholis to take up arms against the Ugandan government. Now, a multi-national band of guerrillas, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is killing, mutilating and abducting unprotected civilians in three central African countries. It is high time to look carefully at what makes the LRA tick and think of new ways to end this sad saga.
Talking did not work. Throughout the two-year negotiations in Juba, South Sudan, it is doubtful whether Kony or the Ugandan government were ever committed to finding a peaceful and mutually acceptable solution. ... A surprise airstrike on Kony's camp was supposed to be the grand finale with Museveni's son leading a special forces clean-up. But leaked intelligence lost them the element of surprise, and the crack troops were too late to stop Kony and his top commanders melting into the forest. The attack did little more than kick the hornet's nest. ...
... The LRA's survival is just as much a symptom of state failure. In this vast ungoverned border territory, the security forces of all three countries are simply too weak or too far away to stop the slaughter. An effective strategy must take this into account and focus on three priorities.
First, civilians must be protected. ... More U.N. peacekeepers and national forces should deploy to patrol villages and frequently used routes day and night.
... Second, national armies, the U.N. missions in the Congo and Sudan and civilians should better coordinate their efforts within and across national boundaries. They need to combine counter-insurgency and peacekeeping tactics in innovative ways.
... Third, national authorities need to take ownership of the fight. ... Building state institutions is the only way to ward against LRA remnants or any other rogue threats in the longterm.
Hillary Clinton has good reason to wonder at the LRA's longevity. More than 20 years in the bush is an impressive feat. To stop the nightmare lasting even longer, we must see steps to move beyond the manhunt and tackle the underlying problem of state failure in this forgotten heart of Africa."
i. "Envoy, MP clash over northern war", by Francis Emorut (The New Vision), 9 May 2010, http://www.newvision.co.ug/PA/8/13/719009
ii. "MacDusman Kabega, "the devil's advocate"", by Hussein Bogere, (The Observer), 2 May 2010, http://observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=8349:macdusman-kabega-the-devils-advocate&catid=34:news&Itemid=59
III. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS
i. "LRA: A Regional Strategy beyond Killing Kony", by Thierry Vircoulon, (International Crisis Group), Crisis Group Podcast, 6 May 2010 http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/podcasts/lra-a-regional-strategy-beyond-killing-kony.aspx
"Thierry Vircoulon, Crisis Group's Central Africa Project Director, talks about why defeating the Lord's Resistance Army will require both regional cooperation and a commitment to protecting civilians."
ii. "Seeking Peace & Seeking Justice: The ICC and Uganda," Skylight Pictures, May 2010, http://community.ijcentral.org/video/seeking-peace-and-seeking
"The 16-minute film module Seeking Peace and Seeking Justice: The ICC and Uganda explores how the ICC's involvement in Uganda has sparked conversation and action throughout Ugandan society. For example, in the bush, LRA leaders have used the arrest warrants as a bargaining chip in peace negotiations; in displaced persons' camps, Ugandans are debating the merits of the ICC versus traditional justice mechanisms; at a national level, the government of Uganda is restructuring its own judicial system."
iii. "The role of the CICC and NGOs at the Review Conference," CICC Convenor William Pace, ICC Youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzdzg8p9IwI
CICC's policy on the referral and prosecution of situations before the ICC:
The Coalition for the ICC is not an organ of the court. The CICC is an independent NGO movement dedicated to the establishment of the International Criminal Court as a fair, effective, and independent international organization. The Coalition will continue to provide the most up-to-date information about the ICC and to help coordinate global action to effectively implement the Rome Statute of the ICC. The Coalition will also endeavor to respond to basic queries and to raise awareness about the ICC's trigger mechanisms and procedures, as they develop. The Coalition as a whole, and its secretariat, do not endorse or promote specific investigations or prosecutions or take a position on situations before the ICC. However, individual CICC members may endorse referrals, provide legal and other support on investigations, or develop partnerships with local and other organizations in the course of their efforts.
Communications to the ICC can be sent to:
P.O. box 19519
2500 CM the Hague