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ICC prosecutor refuses to meet with representatives of Uganda LRA rebels

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] said Tuesday that he "has not and will not" meet with any member of Uganda's Lord Resistance Army (LRA) [MIPT backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The statement [PDF text] came in response to reports that representatives of LRA leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] were planning to meet with him, apparently to seek the withdrawal of ICC warrants [JURIST report] for the arrest of Kony and other LRA leaders. Moreno-Ocampo said:

Should the LRA indictees through their legal representatives wish to challenge the admissibility of the Prosecutor's case against Joseph Kony and the three other commanders, they can do so by making an application to the judges. Any LRA legal representative would have to follow the judicial procedures and file applications before the Pre-trial chamber. The process is clear and does not involve the OTP.

For his part, the Prosecutor is confident that his case is admissible. Joseph Kony and other commanders of the LRA have slaughtered entire communities in Northern Uganda. They have abducted thousands of children, transforming them into killers and sex slaves. The arrest warrants issued two years ago against Kony and the three other commanders remain in effect. Other members of the LRA are not sought by the ICC.
The LRA has refused to sign a final peace agreement with the Ugandan government unless the ICC withdraws its indictments [ICC materials; JURIST report] of several LRA leaders. The Ugandan government and the LRA have yet to sign a final agreement but reportedly agreed upon the last in a series of key documents related to brokering a peace deal last week. Reuters has more.

The ICC-issued warrants were executed in 2005 and include Kony and LRA senior member Vincent Otti [BBC profiles]. In 2007, Otti was executed by rebels [BBC report], though official confirmation of his death was delayed until January amid fears that it would disrupt peace talks. Kony, who remains in hiding, is wanted for orchestrating the killing of thousands of civilians and the enslavement of thousands more children over two decades of conflict. The LRA and the Ugandan government came to an agreement last month to establish a war crimes court [JURIST report] to prosecute crimes against humanity committed during Uganda's civil war [BBC Q/A]. The government has said that Kony is willing to face trial at home [JURIST report], but not at the ICC.

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