Juba Peace Talks Consultations Open in Lira

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Cultural and religious leaders have supported Government's position on the International Criminal Court indictments against the five top commanders of the Lord's Resistance Army recommending that all agenda of the peace talks should be signed before negotiations on international law can take place.
Speaking at public consultations on justice and reconciliations mechanisms to be adopted into a comprehensive peace agreement, Faustin Olwit, the prime minister of the Lango Cultural Foundation, said negotiations on international justice should come after a peace deal is signed. He said that since the Government of Uganda prompted the International Criminal Court case against the LRA, the two parties should discuss those indictments at a separate forum.
Olwit said the peace talks in the Southern Sudan city of Juba are the best chance Uganda will have in achieving lasting peace. He was however quick to mention that true peace would not be found until there is full accountability for crimes committed against the population in northern Uganda.
The leader of Government's delegation to the peace talks, Ruhakana Rugunda, said government is willing to talk to the International Criminal Court on possible lifting of the indictments. Defence State Minister Ruth Nankabirwa echoed this statement, urging that the issue of the world court should not hinder progress to finding a solution to the conflict.
A woman, who said she was victimized by the LRA, told the meeting in Lira today that one of her sons was shot to death by the rebels. The rest of her family was burned to death in their hut during an attack on Otira village in Apalla sub-county, Lira district.
The woman, who refused give her name, said she was permanently disabled after she was tortured by the rebels. Despite this, she said that if the LRA agreed to lay down their arms they should be pardoned by Government.
A 56-year-old man, who also refused to be identified, said only the LRA leader Joseph Kony and his deputy Vincent Otti should be held accountable for the killings in the Lango sub-region.