Peaceful Settlement in Uganda Jeopardized by ICC Arrest Warrants
So what happens when a country considers the option of granting amnesty as part of a peaceful settlement of a civil war? Is an approach of amnesty – together with a Truth and Reconciliation Commission – one viable approach to resolving such conflicts? Should that qualify as an “investigation” within the meaning of the “complementarity” doctrine? One would hope.
Which makes the news coming out of
“Bigombe managed to win some trust from both the LRA and the government as a mediator. Backed by the governments of
, the Britain , Netherlands , and the Norway , she pitched camp in the region to mediate the peace process that had been started by religious leaders in northern United States . She came close to brokering a successful ceasefire agreement between the two sides late last year, when she organised the first face-to-face meeting in a decade between a senior government minister and a dozen LRA officials in the bushes in Kitgum district, some 450 km north of the capital, Kampala. However, last minute hitches saw the attempt fail. Bigombe said she had been trying to persuade the LRA leadership to end the rebellion and accept an offer of amnesty from the government. However, the ICC’s move has scuttled the amnesty option for the leaders accused of a number of atrocities…” Uganda
One does have the impression that the ICC prosecutor has not shown the better part of caution in issuing these arrest warrants at this time. How can you apply the Article 17 mandate of deference to national court proceedings when the government is in the process of brokering peace and deciding how to respond to the rebel forces by, among other options, considering a grant of amnesty?
The good news is that such arrest warrants may indeed provide a chilling effect for those contemplating the further commission of war crimes. That cannot be underestimated. But neither can one ignore the chilling effect that such arrest warrants may have on attempts to broker peace. War crimes may cease, but war will continue.