Beyond Ituri: the other side of the Ugandan case

27 March 2006 by BENJAMIN BIBAS and EMMANUEL CHICON

The transfer of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) to The Hague on March 17 stirred up questions about the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigations into the support given to the Congolese militia in Ituri (Democratic Republic of Congo). Thus far, the ICC has targeted only the leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group and not a single officer of the Ugandan army in its investigations into Uganda. However, the court may be setting its sights on several high-ranking Ugandan officers in the Ituri case.

For the time being, the ICC is not interfering with political agendas.Whilst the legislative and presidential elections in the DCR are scheduled for June and August, the ICC made its first arrest the day after the Ugandan electoral commission announced President’s Yoweri Museveni’s re-election. In July 2004, Museveni had sent a confidential letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan informing him of “the need for provisional immunity in order to achieve peace first” in Ituri, and urging Annan “to suspend the activities on the inter-national criminal court until the peace process in Ituri and DRC in general is irreversible.” Political scientist Alphonse Maindo thinks otherwise. “If the ICC wants to be credible in Ituri, it cannot cut corners with the investigation into Ugandan, and to a lesser degree, Rwandan, military leaders involved in the conflict.”

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