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Uganda official asks ICC to quash LRA war crimes indictments

[JURIST] Ugandan Security Minister Amama Mbabazi on Wednesday asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to retract its indictments against several leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder] for war crimes in an effort to encourage senior LRA rebels to attend peace talks with the Ugandan government. The peace talks, scheduled to begin Wednesday, have been delayed while Ugandan officials try to convince the LRA leaders from the combat wing to attend the talks, who are seemingly avoiding the talks because of the ICC indictments and Interpol international arrest warrants against them.

LRA leaders rejected an offer of amnesty from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official website; BBC profile] last week, saying that accepting amnesty "presupposes surrender" and would mean the LRA is no longer available to discussion. Museveni had promised rebel leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] conditional amnesty [JURIST report] if he denounces terrorism and if peace talks mediated by the southern Sudanese government proceed smoothly. An ICC spokesman renewed its calls for Kony's arrest [JURIST report] last week, shortly after Museveni offered amnesty. Kony was indicted by the ICC [JURIST report; PDF arrest warrant] along with four LRA lieutenants last October on charges that they orchestrated the killing of thousands of civilians and the enslavement of thousands more children over two decades of conflict with Museveni's government. AFP has more.

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