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Uganda president pledges conditional amnesty to LRA leader indicted by ICC

[JURIST] Joseph Kony [BBC profile], leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [Global Security backgrounder; BBC backgrounder] in Uganda, will be granted amnesty if upcoming LRA negotiations with the southern Sudanese government proceed smoothly and if he renounces terrorist activity, according a statement released Tuesday by the press secretary for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official website; BBC profile]. Kony was indicted by the International Criminal Court [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.

The semi-autonomous southern Sudanese government is holding talks with LRA leaders next week in its capital, Juba, in hopes of ending civilian killings in the region. The LRA, once supported by the Sudanese government, has maintained a presence in southern Sudan since its formation in 1986. Though Sudan has pledged to aid the ICC in arresting Kony [JURIST report], it has so far failed to arrest him, and southern Sudanese officials seem more interested in ending the bloodshed with Kony's help rather than sending him to the ICC. Museveni said in Tuesday's statement that if the ICC wants to arrest Kony, UN troops should do so. AP has more. Uganda's Daily Monitor has local coverage and an editorial.

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