LRA: ICC Warrants Biggest Obstacle to Peace

Speaking with Voice of America, a senior consultant to the LRA said that the International Criminal Court’s warrants against Joseph Kony and three other top LRA leadership are the rebel group’s biggest obstacle to successfully concluding the ongoing peace talks.

The International Criminal Court, or ICC, is a fledging organization charged with prosecuting violators of international law – including perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  It’s first-ever arrest warrants were issued two years ago against five LRA leaders, one of whom has since died.  Those warrants have played a pivotal role in the search for peace in northern Uganda.

Kony and other LRA leaders fear that if they surrender as terms of the peace deal, they will be prosecuted by the ICC.  Although the ICC’s mandate allows for local justice systems to supersede its own prosecutions, if those local mechanisms do not meet certain standards of justice the ICC reserves the right to step in.  So even if the warranted leaders are put through some sort of justice process in Uganda, whether formal or traditional, as long as the warrants are in place the ICC can step in at any time to prosecute them from The Hague.

LRA leadership maintains that it will not sign a peace agreement until the warrants are withdrawn, and the ICC prosecutor maintains that the warrants must remain in place.