Sunday, November 12, 2006

ICC Is 'Monkey Wrench' In Juba Peace Talks

I cannot believe that the most educated and ‘forward’ people cannot understand what the LRA is saying about not assembling at the two locations.
1. The LRA chief said he couldn’t go to Juba as long as the ICC warrant is in effect.
2. Museveni says he cannot ask the ICC to withdraw the warrants unless the LRA sign the peace deal.
3. ICC says it cannot withdraw the warrants unless Museveni requests it.

All these issues simply stifle the peace negotiation. So is the peace talks being relegated to secondary status?
The negotiation in Juba is not proceeding in good tone otherwise there would be enough trust to defray these three points. We would like to see a comprehensive agreement that is acceptable and enforceable/sustainable before we can comment on the three issues.
LRA chiefs are within their rights to refuse to attend Juba talks unless their fear can be allayed. Uganda government, on the other hand cannot demand a signing of a peace agreement first then granting the LRA protection or requesting the withdrawal of the warrants because it does not affect the contents of the peace talks. If anything, the LRA have the right to fear that the government is bent on trapping them instead of delivering peace to northern region.
Kony's presence cannot boost the peace talk at this time at all because even the LRA have unilaterally adopted a cease-fire that has been kept by them in spite of incitement by government forces. A big delagation from Acholi has visited the general at his hide-out and that should have been all the boost we needed. Right now, there is no agreement to sign to bring Gen. Kony to Juba especially with the ICC warrant in place. If the peace talk is also the venue where ICC arrest will be effected, then there is no need to waste our time negotiating an unsustainable agreement.

Absence of warrants will allow LRA to have more trust and make negotiation more likely to succeed. However, this will rob Museveni of a method of taunting and attempting to frustrate the LRA to abandon the peace talk.
The third point of ICC withdrawing the warrant is also less important if the government and LRA engage in sincere talks aimed at restoring peace and dignity to all. Only after the talks have been concluded to the satisfaction of all stakeholders should the ICC issues be tackled if they are still relevant then. At that time it will be easy to point out where or how the ICC warrant obstructs the return of peace.
So, there you have it. The bringing of ICC issue at the peace talk serves no other purpose at this time except to scuttle the meeting. That is what it is. No argument can alter that fact!
There are absolutely no scenarios in which the ICC warrant can concurrently exist with the ongoing peace talks in Juba to a peaceful conclusion.

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