LRA to Send Delegation to ICC

549 Views The Hague, Netherlands
The Lord's Resistance Army has said it will send a delegation to The Hague to meet International Criminal Court prosecutors to discuss the indictments of its leaders for crimes against humanity. Speaking by satellite phone to the French press agency (AFP) the LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti said the court erred by issuing arrest warrants without having listened to the combatant's side of the story. He said a delegation would be sent to the ICC prosecutors in The Hague so that the LRA's side of the story could be heard. Otti noted that the Ugandan government has made several trips to the ICC and make its case and said it is time the LRA is heard as well. Although he didn't give a date for the planned meeting, Otti said the delegation would travel to the Netherlands in the coming days. The ICC has indicted LRA commander Joseph Kony, Otti and three other commanders for crimes and against humanity committed in the course of their two decades of conflict with the government. The rebels have vowed never to sign a peace agreement until the indictments are lifted, but President Yoweri Museveni has assured the rebels of a blanket amnesty if they agree to a lasting peace accord. Internal Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the Ugandan government welcomed the LRA's plan and hoped it might breathe life into the faltering talks. He said the LRA is at liberty to go to the ICC because the ICC is a public institution. The peace talks, mediated by the semi-autonomous government of southern Sudan, are currently stalled. The LRA has refused to resume dialogue until it gets a new venue and new mediator. The rebels have accused chief mediator, southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar, of bias.