Security Council encouraged by positive moves in Ugandan peace

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					Security Council encouraged by positive moves in
Ugandan peace process
                        13 November 2007 – Welcoming recent   positive steps in the peace
                        process between the Ugandan Government and the rebel Lord’s
                        Resistance Army (LRA), the Security Council today called on all
                        sides to maximize the opportunity to make further progress and to
                        improve the living conditions of the people of northern Uganda.
Ambassador Natalegawa
                     In a press statement read out by Ambassador Marty Natalegawa of
Indonesia, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month, the 15-member body
said it was encouraged by recent progress and the resulting improved humanitarian and
security conditions.

“Security Council members reiterated their support for a negotiated settlement and their
hope for an expeditious conclusion to the peace process,” according to the statement,
which followed a briefing to the Council by Joaquim Chissano, the former Mozambican
president and now the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the peace process.

The Ugandan Government and the LRA, which have been fighting since the mid-1980s,
signed a ceasefire last year, leading to hopes of a comprehensive peace accord to
formally end the conflict. But disputes between the two sides had dampened hopes and
many LRA members have been hiding out in southern Sudan or the northeast of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement welcoming the
recent official visit of a LRA delegation to Kampala, the Ugandan capital, which has led
to further consultations between the Government and the rebels.

Mr. Natalegawa said Council members reiterated their call on the LRA to immediately
release all women, children and other non-combatants. The group has become notorious
for abducting as many as 25,000 children and using them as fighters and porters. The
children were often subject to extreme violence shortly after abduction, with many girls
allocated to officers in a form of institutional rape.

The Council also stressed today that anyone responsible for serious violations of human
rights or international humanitarian law must be brought to justice.

Speaking to reporters after his briefing, Mr. Chissano noted recent agreements between
the two sides on various issues, including one on principles of accountability and
reconciliation.

He also underlined the importance of both the Government and the LRA consulting the
local population, including the victims of atrocities during the long conflict, on moving
forward in the peace process to ensure that there is broad-based community support.
They are now working towards an agreement “that takes into consideration the
requirements for an alternative justice, alternative to the ICC,” Mr. Chissano said,
referring to the indictments issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague of
five senior LRA members.

“This is a complicated issue, delicate but not impossible. The lawyers of the country are
keen, studying the ways of bringing new legislation which would take into consideration
some cultural aspects of the problem and some cultural methods of bringing solution or
making justice after commitment of grave crimes, as seen by the clans and the tribes in
the country.

“The challenge is to blend this with the modern and ordinary type of judiciary systems.
And, more than that, [the challenge] is to blend them with the international standards.”

Reconciliation remains the key to preventing violence in the future and to building
national unity, Mr. Chissano said, noting that some people in the international community
have raised concerns about a route to justice that does not include the ICC.

“Some will perceive this as lack of punishment and they will say that a culture of
impunity is being installed, while for the Ugandans there will be punishment enough,
according to their perceptions, according to their culture. So it’s delicate. It’s a
challenge.”