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ICC rejects withdrawing Ugandan rebel indictments

[JURIST] An International Criminal Court [official website] prosecutor said Thursday that the court would not withdraw controversial indictments against leaders of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [MIPT backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Alluding to a call for a review of the charges [JURIST report] by the Ugandan government, ICC Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was quoted by AFP as saying that "this idea of 'because we are talking peace therefore justice should be thrown out of the window' is not the correct position that has to be taken." She added "the warrants that have been issued by the ICC have contributed tremendously to making the perpetrators of these crimes come to, even negotiate with the government." At a Wednesday briefing [press release] at United Nations headquarters in New York, Bensouda called on governments to back the court's efforts, saying "the interests of peace and justice demand that States take assertive action." AFP has more.

In 2005 the ICC indicted [ICC materials; JURIST report] five leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, including LRA leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile], for orchestrating the killing of thousands of civilians and the enslavement of thousands more children over two decades of conflict. The Ugandan government is trying to negotiate a peace deal with the rebels, though they say they will refuse to sign any agreement unless the ICC withdraws its indictments. The government has also said that Kony is willing to face trial at home [JURIST report], but not at the ICC.

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