Extradition tug-of-war highlights trouble with judicial cooperation in Africa

17 May 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

The dispute between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over Jamil Mukulu, leader of Uganda’s Islamist rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) who was arrested last month in Tanzania, has exposed a lack of concerted regional effort in pursuing justice and accountability.

A UN peacekeeper patrols the Beni region in eastern DRC, near the Ugandan border (Flickr/UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti)
Image caption: 
A UN peacekeeper patrols the Beni region in eastern DRC, near the Ugandan border (Flickr/UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti)

In May, Uganda and DRC lodged rival applications in Dar es Salaam for the extradition of Mukulu. At its own International Crimes Division (ICD) [IJT-176], Uganda wants to prosecute the 51 year old – shadowed by an international arrest warrant since February 2011 – for murder and terrorism. DRC wants him in the dock for a spate of killings, rape and sexual violence in the country’s east. In both nations, he faces charges of human rights abuses, kidnapping and recruitment of minors.

A report published last week by the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office accused the ADF of committing “systematic and extremely brutal violations”, which “may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity”, last year in DRC’s Beni territory, North Kivu province.

“Mukulu and his rebel group committed more killings and atrocities in eastern DRC than in Uganda. We want him to be extradited and prosecuted here,” Lambert Mende, the DRC information and communications minister, told IJT.

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