Uganda establishes special war crimes court to try LRA rebels

[JURIST] Uganda [JURIST news archive] has established a special court to hear cases of alleged war crimes and human rights abuses related to an ongoing rebellion in the country [JURIST news archive], a High Court judge said Monday. Uganda's government agreed to create the war crimes court [JURIST report] in February during peace negotiations with the guerrilla Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder]. There is speculation that the the war crimes court, which will have the authority to try LRA leaders, was created to persuade the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to drop arrest warrants currently out for LRA leaders, a conclusion supported by the LRA's refusal to sign a final peace agreement [JURIST reports] unless the warrants are suspended. BBC News has more. New Vision has additional coverage.

Late last week, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said that the court was investigating possible new crimes [JURIST report] committed by the LRA after peace talks with the government stalled in April. Ocampo has also said that arrest warrants issued by the ICC for LRA leaders will remain in effect, despite requests from Uganda that they be withdrawn [JURIST reports]. The government has said that LRA leaders are willing to face trial at home [JURIST report], but that the special war crimes court was established because of public demand for local trials rather than to appease LRA rebels.



 

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