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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:14, July 02, 2007
Ugandan gov't, LRA rebels sign key pact in peace talks
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The Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government have signed a pact on accountability and reconciliation, a sticky point on the peace negotiation agenda, moving closer to a final peace agreement.

The pact signed late on Friday night, which recommends alternative traditional justice, shields the four top LRA commanders from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and the crime against humanity.

"Accountability mechanisms shall be implemented through the adapted legal framework in Uganda. Legislation shall introduce a regime of alternative penalties and sanctions which shall apply, and replace existing penalties, with respect to serious crimes and human rights violations committed by non-state actors in the course of the conflict," said the pact quoted by state-owned Sunday Vision.

It excludes double justice for the same crimes. "Where a person has already been subject to proceedings or exempted from liability for any crime or civil acts or omissions, or has been subject to accountability or reconciliation proceedings for any conduct in the course of the conflict, that person shall not be subject to any other proceedings with respect to that conduct."

The parties committed themselves to honoring the suffering victims by promoting lasting peace and justice, preventing impunity and promoting redress in accordance with the Constitution and international obligations, especially the requirements of the Rome Statute which set up the ICC.

Reparation would include rehabilitation, restitution, compensation, guarantees of non-recurrence and other symbolic measures such as apologies, memorials and commemorations.

By signing the 11-page document, the delegates ended a month of protracted negotiations on the contentious agenda point, which had been referred to as the fulcrum on which the process hinged.

The ICC in October 2005 indicted five top LRA leaders including their commander Joseph Kony and his deputy Vincent Otti for crimes against humanity. The indictment has been viewed as a stumbling block to the return of peace in northern Uganda. The rebels said they fear arrest after coming out of the bush.

The two decade insurgency of the LRA has left tens of thousands of people dead and over 1.4 million displaced in northern Uganda.

Source: Xinhua


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