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Uganda LRA rebels renew threat of violence unless ICC pulls arrest warrants

[JURIST] Leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [MIPT backgrounder] on Monday repeated their call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to lift international arrest warrants [PDF] against five top LRA leaders, and threatened to continue their violent resistance movement otherwise. Although the Ugandan government and the LRA have pledged to work out a peace agreement, LRA leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] and deputy Vincent Otti [MIPT profile] have refused to attend peace talks hosted by Sudan, fearing that the ICC will arrest them when they emerge from hiding for the talks. LRA spokesman Godfrey Ayoo told journalists Monday that "as long as the ICC indictments still stand, no single soldier is going to come out of the bush."

The ICC has thus far refused [JURIST report] to cancel the indictments, despite requests [JURIST report] from the Ugandan government [official website]. Although LRA rebels led a brutal insurgency against Ugandans, Ayoo says that most Ugandans are willing to sacrifice prosecution of LRA leaders in exchange for successful peace negotiations. LRA leaders rejected [JURIST report] an earlier offer of amnesty from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [official website; BBC profile], saying that accepting amnesty "presupposes surrender". Kony was indicted by the ICC [JURIST report] 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. Reuters has more.

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