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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The International Criminal Court versus peace agreements: Juba peace talks between the LRA rebels and the government of Uganda
Author:Opolot, Deogratius O.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of African and international law
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:International Criminal Court
Abstract:The purpose of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is to prosecute those responsible for crimes of serious concern to the international community as a whole. However, the prosecutor may decline to prosecute on the grounds that it would not serve the interests of justice. The ICC Statute does not foreclose alternative means of justice, such as amnesties, truth commissions or traditional justice mechanisms. The decision whether or not to prosecute will depend on the State party, the opinion of the prosecutor, the Court and the UN Security Council. In Uganda the prosecutor insists on prosecuting the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The government and specifically President Museveni have clearly stated that what the people of Uganda want is peace and not justice. Some commentators have argued that the insistence on prosecutions against the LRA could jeopardize negotiations for peace and will therefore not serve the interests of justice. There has been an emphasis on traditional justice mechanisms, especially 'mato oput' of the Acholi. The Ugandan situation is a litmus test for the ICC, whichever decision it takes, either to send the matter back to the domestic courts or to go ahead with the prosecution trials. However, in view of the shortcomings of traditional justice mechanisms, and the question as to whether the courts in Uganda have the jurisdiction to try LRA leaders for many offences which are not codified in the laws of Uganda, the ICC is the only viable option, even at the risk of derailing the peace process. Inasmuch as Uganda needs peace, there must be an end to impunity. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]