Uganda, DRC reparations case resumes

Saturday July 18 2015

By KENNEDY SENELWA, TEA Special Correspondent

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are required to submit to a court written pleadings on reparations they owe each other.

The International Court of Justice — the principal judicial organ of United Nations — has decided to resume proceedings on the reparations cases between Kampala and Kinshasa and has set January 6, 2016 as the deadline for filing written pleadings.

DR Congo and Uganda have failed to agree on the amount of money each is required to pay the other as reparations for acts of armed aggression that violated the United Nations Charter and the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union, despite the conclusion on December 19, 2005 of a legal battle between the neighbouring countries, which started in 1999 at the International Court of Justice.

DR Congo on June 23, 1999 instituted proceedings against Uganda over allegations of armed aggression.

Resumption

The ICJ said in an order issued on July 1, that it had decided to resume the case proceedings. The order was issued by ICJ president Ronny Abraham, vice-president Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf with judges Hisashi Owada, Mohamed Bennouna, Cançado Trindade and Christopher Greenwood.

Advertisement

“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.

In 2005, the ICJ directed Uganda to make reparations to DR Congo for the injuries caused by violations of human rights.

The presence of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in DR Congo from the 1990s through to June 2003 sparked accusations that the soldiers were destroying property, killing or injuring Congolese and illegally exploiting natural resources.

The court also directed DR Congo to make reparations to Uganda for the injuries caused by the country’s violation of obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The ICJ ruled that Congolese armed forces attacked Uganda’s embassy, confiscated property and mistreated diplomats on the premises of the mission and at Ndjili International Airport.

On May 13, the court’s Registry received a new application from DR Congo requesting the ICJ to decide the reparations due to the country.

“The negotiations on the question of reparations owed to DR Congo by Uganda must now be deemed to have failed, as is made clear in a joint communiqué signed by both parties in Pretoria, South Africa, on March 19,” it said.

The joint communiqué of the fourth ministerial meeting held between the two countries said the ministers responsible for leading the negotiations decided that there should be “no further negotiations” since “no consensus [had been] reached” between the parties.

Advertisement