The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, has said leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army must be arrested to stop them from committing more crimes.
Ocampo's statement, made in a public hearing with non-governmental organizations at The Hague on Tuesday, comes amid calls for an amnesty for all LRA leaders to allow for peace talks.
Last week, deputy LRA leader Vincent Otti said lifting the ICC war crimes indictments against himself and other top LRA leaders was a pre-condition to a full peace deal.
However Ocampo said war crimes could not go unpunished. He said if the International Criminal Court (ICC) does not execute the arrest warrants against the LRA leaders, the war crimes they committed may start again.
The NGOs backed the ICC's efforts to arrest and prosecute those responsible for war crimes.
Nicholas Grono of the International Crisis Group said it is critically important that the ICC gets convictions under its belt. He said if the work of the ICC is continuously interrupted by peace processes it will never have a deterrent effect."
Amnesty International's senior legal adviser, Christopher Keith Hall, said it was extremely disturbing that the LRA leaders had not yet been arrested and that the ICC needed more policing power. He urged the prosecution to press the United Nations and other international government organizations to establish law enforcement teams to arrest those indicted by the ICC.
On September 15, the ICC ordered an urgent report into Uganda's efforts to arrest and hand over LRA leaders, stressing that the arrest of LRA leader Joseph Kony and his deputies was vital for their effective prosecution and the prevention of further crimes.