Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have yet again been given an extension — this time till September 28 — to file written submissions at the Hague over reparations they owe each other.
The two neighbours have sued each other, seeking reparations over unlawfully occupation and armed aggression.
On June 23, 1999 the DRC sued Uganda, saying the presence of Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces in DRC from 1990s to June 2003 led to destruction of property, killings and illegal exploitation of natural resources.
At the same time, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Congolese armed forces attacked Uganda’s Embassy, confiscated property and maltreated diplomats.
Now ICJ, in an April 11 order signed by Judge Cançado Trindade, has extended to September 28 the date for filing written pleadings from the initial April 28.
On December 10, 2015, the court extended the fixed time-limit for filling written pleadings from January 6 to April 28.
DRC and Uganda have failed to agree on the amount each is required to pay the other after conclusion on December 19, 2005 of a protracted legal battle that started in 1999.
ICJ’s president Ronny Abraham said in an order issued on December 10, 2015 that ICJ granted the extension after a request by the DRC.
The DRC had asked for extension of time of filling written memorial to late April or mid-May. Uganda in a letter dated December 3, 2015 and received by the registry on December 8, had no objection to the extension.
“Although the parties have tried to settle the question of reparations directly, they have been unable to reach an agreement in that respect,” said the order issued by the court on July 1, 2015.
The DRC asserted when the legal battle started that Uganda and Rwanda were granted substantial benefits in the military and economic fields following President Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s accession to power in May 1997.
President Kabila subsequently sought to reduce the two countries’ influence and this “new policy of independence and emancipation”, led to the invasion of Congolese territory by Ugandan forces in August 1998.
Uganda claimed that, upon assuming power, President Kabila invited Uganda to deploy its troops in eastern Congo since the Congolese army did not have resources to control its remote eastern provinces.