The damage compensation figures recommended by experts is classified as USD 15.9 million for infrastructure, USD 3.6 million for general looting, USD 24.8 million for property damage in Ituri and 16.6 million as property damage out of Ituri areas which were occupied by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF.
Uganda could end up paying billions of Shillings to the Democratic
Republic of Congo as compensation for occupation of its territory during
the 1997 to 2003 war if the Hague based International Court of Justice
(ICJ) decides to adopt compensation figures recommended by its experts.
Four ICJ-appointed experts have recommended that
Uganda pays USD 215 million for infrastructure and property damage, general
looting and specifically looting of minerals. The
experts are Debarati Guha-Sapir, a Professor of Public Health at the
University of Louvain (Belgium), Michael Nest, the Environmental Governance Advisor
for the European Union’s Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption
Programme in Ghana, Geoffrey
Senogles, a Partner at Senogles & Co., a Chartered Accountants Firm in
Switzerland and Henrik Urda, a Research Professor and Director of the Peace
Research Institute Oslo (Norway).
The damage compensation figures recommended by
experts is classified as USD 15.9 million for infrastructure, USD 3.6 million for general
looting, USD 24.8 million for property damage in Ituri and 16.6 million as property
damage out of Ituri areas which were occupied by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF. Another
USD 56.9 million is classfied as property of
National Electricity Company and USD 41.6
million was property of Congolese Army and 55.8 million is recommended
as compensation for looting of minerals.
human lives lost
But what remains unclear is the compensation for human
lives that were lost during the war. And this is going to be an item with the
who worked on the excess deaths report noted that DRC registered 4.9 million excess
deaths from 1997 to 2003.
And specifically in areas which were occupied by
Uganda soldiers, she reported 185,136 excess deaths, while Dr
Henrik Urdal who submitted about war deaths only estimated that 28,981 deaths were
directly as result of the war. According to his report, 14,663 were civilian
deaths, 6,494 military deaths while 7,824 were unknown.
Geoffrey Senogles, the ICJ accountant expert recommended USD 30,000 for each
victim who died directly as resulted of the war and USD 15,000 for other deaths. It
seems DRC seized these figures to claim USD 4.3 billion as compensation for human
experts report was released on Monday following Uganda’s withdrawal of objection
to its release. At the start of court oral hearing on April, 20,
Uganda wrote objecting to making experts report public but on 28th
of April, Attorney William Byaruhanga who was in Hague attended withdrew the
have the honour to further inform the court that Uganda hereby withdraws its
objection and consent to the reports of the court appointed experts and related
documents being made accessible to public,” Byaruhanga wrote.
two weeks of oral proceedings, lawyers representing Uganda fervently urged the court to reject expert reports that derived from estimates and globally
reputable databases. Instead, Ugandan lawyers argued that Congo must produce
compelling evidence such as death certificates if it’s to be compensated.
Murphy, a Professor of International Law at George Washington University, who representing Uganda argued that DRC must produce evidence but also
causation—showing that such deaths and destruction were as result of activities
of Uganda soldiers.
assertion about the inability to gather evidence relating to war is
demonstrably untrue. Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait did not prevent
victims or their families from identifying to the UN compensation commission the
names of those who died,” he said.
Uganda, Phillipe Sande, a Professor of Laws and Director of the Centre on
International Courts and Tribunals at the University College London,
representing Congo told the court that Uganda’s approach if accepted will “lead
to a great miscarriage of justice.” Uganda’s approach, he argued is ridiculous,
disrespectful and offensive.
Guha-Sapir, also asked the court to ignore demands by Uganda that DRC must
produce evidence like death certificates to prove that its citizens died when
the UPDF was deployed in Ituri almost 23 years ago. She argued that
institutions registering deaths were non-existent in Eastern DRC during the war
and there were no incentives for people to obtain certificates for dead
relatives. “I think it cannot go without saying that death certificates
or civil registration is not going to be a source of any data.”
end of oral arguments, both countries anxiously be waiting for court judgement
which will be delivered on notice.
ICJ 2005 reopened this case, which Uganda lost to Congo after the two countries
failed to agree on the compensation figure. When Uganda lost the case in 2005,
DRC’s lawyers argued for a reparation figure of USD 10 billion which was
awarded. However, the court asked the two parties to get together and come up
with a figure that is agreeable to both because Uganda protested the claims.
one point during negotiations, William Byaruhanga told ICJ that DRC was claiming
USD 23 billion in compensation which it has now reduced to USD 13.5 billion as
per Byaruhanga’s presentation.