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Uganda war crimes court may include foreign judges

[JURIST] Ugandan Principal Judge James Ogoola said Monday that the newly established War Crimes Division (WCD) [official website, JURIST news archive] of the High Court will seek to recruit foreign judges. Ogoola explained the need [New Vision report] for foreign judges, citing the international nature of the cases. He said that foreign judges would improve both the quality of the WCD's work and the public's perception of the court. In June, WCD officials began reaching out to the areas most affected by the war with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] in the Acholi, Lango, Teso, and District of Adjumani regions of the country, seeking to lay the groundwork for future investigations.

Ogoola appointed three High Court Judges to serve on the WCD in July 2008 after the new division was created [JURIST report] in May of that year. The WCD was formed specifically to try war crimes cases involving the LRA and will not hear other allegations [JURIST report] of war crimes. Uganda's government agreed to create the war crimes court [JURIST report] in February 2008 during peace negotiations with the LRA. At the time, there was speculation that the WCD, which has the authority to try LRA leaders, was created to persuade the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] to drop its arrest warrants for LRA leaders. More than four years after the warrants were initially issued, the ICC is still seeking the arrest [JURIST report] of LRA leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile] and his deputies.

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