22 Feb ICC Watch: A Delicate Situation in Uganda
Ugandan peace mediators are continuing to complain about the ICC’s interference in their efforts to broker a peace treaty. As Reuters reports:
Uganda has offered amnesty to Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, but the prospect of indictments by the international court has stopped some top commanders surrendering, along with hundreds of children they have kidnapped during the conflict, mediators said on Tuesday.
“The International Criminal Court (ICC) just wants to prove itself at the cost of peace, and they seem not to care,” leading mediator Betty Bigombe told Reuters. “I have told the prosecutor that the moment they issue arrest warrants, I will stop the peace process.”
As I pointed out here, this is the first test of the ICC Prosecutor’s political judgment. Like it or not, an investigation here would have serious political consequences and needs a careful handling. As the U.S. has argued all along, the ICC needs to make political as well as legal decisions. Choosing between going forward with arrest warrants here and backing off to try to preserve a peace agreement is just such a decision.