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Sudan Tribune

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Ugandan rebels suspend peace talks, appoint new team

April 10, 2008 (RI-KWANGBA, Sudan) — The rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) suspended the peace talks with the Ugandan government and dissolved its peace talks team, saying they “have been mislead in the solution to resolve the conflict”

Joseph Kony
Joseph Kony
Kony’s 22-year rebellion killed tens of thousands of people, uprooted 2 million more in northern Uganda and also destabilised neighbouring parts of southern Sudan and eastern Congo.

In a press statement, received by e-mail that Sudan Tribune was not able to independently verify, signed by Joseph Kony, the Ugandan rebel group denounced the final peace document presented by the mediator, and the Vice-President of the government of southern Sudan. Riek Machar.

The LRA motivated its rejection by the lack of “credible environment of dialogue”. The unneutral Machar, and his cooperation with the Ugandan government were cited as the first cause for the suspension of the talks.

Kony also blamed the “lack of understanding and full commitment by international community.” The UN special envoy, Joachim Alberto Chissano, was described as incompetent and criticised for his “lacks expertise and experience in all fields of Conflict Resolution.”

The International Criminal Court (ICC) refusal to suspend the arrest warrants against the LRA leaders, Kony and two other commanders — Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen — was also seen as a disturbing element for the success of the peace process.

The LRA slammed the “selective justice” of the ICC which “wants to prosecute the LRA while excusing the Ugandan government.”

In a bid to convince the ICC the matter can be handled internally, Kampala and the rebels have agreed to set up a special division of Uganda’s High Court to deal with war crimes. Also the parties agreed to use traditional mechanism in northern Uganda for a heeling and reconciliation process. But Kony expressed doubts on the validity of these alternative solutions.

Kony and two of his top deputies are wanted by the ICC for war crimes including rape, murder and the abduction of children during their two-decade insurgency. Fearing arrest, they have never attended the long-running talks in Juba, instead staying hidden in the lawless wilderness of Garamba Forest in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rebels said the intimidation, bulling and bribery of LRA delegation by Kampala constitute a reason for the suspension of talks, because it demonstrate the lack of seriousness of the Ugandan government and its intention to solution the conflict militarily.

However the LRA reiterated its commitment for peaceful settlement of the conflict. In addition it announced the appointment of “Mr Alex and Mr Bill” who will forge anew LRA negotiation delegation.

The Final Peace Agreement consists of all the substantive agreements reached between the two parties in Juba since 2006. These include: the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and its six addenda; the agreement on Comprehensive Solutions and its Protocol (that address Security Arrangements, Power and Wealth sharing); the agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation and its Annexure (that address issues of war crimes and crimes against humanity including how to deal with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ) indictments on LRA leaders); the agreement on a Permanent Ceasefire; the agreement on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration; the agreement on Implementation and Monitoring Mechanisms; and the Implementation Schedule which shall be signed with and attached to the Final Peace Agreement.

(ST)