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Uganda rebel leader asks UN humanitarian chief for help lifting ICC warrants

[JURIST] Joseph Kony [BBC profile], leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army [MIPT backgrounder] in Uganda, asked UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland [official profile] Sunday to work with the International Criminal Court [official website] in lifting arrest warrants [PDF text] issued against Kony and several other top LRA officials. Kony and Egeland met in a heated 10-minute session [Aljazeera report] in the Sudanese jungle. Egeland agreed to meet Kony to address humanitarian issues with the LRA leader and sought the release of women, children, and wounded believed to be held by the LRA. After the meeting ended, Kony denied the accusations and said the LRA only held enemy combatants. Reuters has more.

Kony and the LRA have made the lifting of the ICC arrest warrants a condition of participating in peace negotiations being mediated by Sudan [UNMIS official website] and an LRA spokesperson Sunday called the arrest warrants the "biggest obstacle" in the peace process [AFP report]. The ICC has so far refused [JURIST report] to cancel the indictments, despite requests [JURIST report] from the Ugandan government [official website], who says that most Ugandans are willing to sacrifice prosecution of LRA leaders in exchange for successful peace negotiations. Egeland himself has gone on record as saying that the LRA rebels should be tried by the ICC regardless [JURIST reports]. 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 Ugandan President Museveni's government. The rebel leader has denied the ICC charges [JURIST report], claiming the crimes were committed by the Ugandan military.

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