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Uganda rebels reject amnesty offer

[JURIST] Rebels in Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder] rejected an offer of amnesty from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official website; BBC profile] on Friday, calling the offer redundant. Museveni promised rebel leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] conditional amnesty [JURIST report] if he denounces terrorism and if upcoming LRA negotiations at the end of July with the southern Sudanese government proceed smoothly. An LRA spokesman said that all parties must be equal at the negotiations and that accepting amnesty "presupposes surrender" and would mean the LRA is no longer available to discussion.

Kony was indicted by the International Criminal Court (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. An ICC spokesman renewed its calls for Kony's arrest [JURIST report] Wednesday, shortly after Museveni offered amnesty. Last week, Kony said in a rare interview that he was "not guilty" of atrocities attributed to him [JURIST report], describing himself as a "freedom fighter" rather than a terrorist. BBC News has more.

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