Kampala has spoken out against the order by the International Court of Justice to compensate neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo $325 million in war reparations for the invasion and looting by Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) more than 20 years ago.
State Minister in Charge of International Relations Henry Oryem ruled out payments by Uganda, saying DR Congo needs a more cordial relationship than the money it has been awarded.
“We are building roads in Congo. UPDF was allowed to pursue ADF terrorists in Congo. So, we are focussing on strategic relationships rather than the judgement,” he said.
“Uganda continues to discuss the matter with the DRC government for purposes of securing a lasting and mutually acceptable solution. Uganda considers the judgment as undue interference in this process and in African affairs generally, a fact towards which the Court appears insufficiently sensitive,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
“It is precisely because of such interference by external actors that there is so much chaos on the African continent,” the statement says.
On Wednesday, US Judge Joan E. Donoghue of the ICJ ordered Uganda to pay $225 million to DR Congo for loss of lives, $60 million for looting, plunder and exploitation of natural resources and $40 million for damage to property.
The payments are to start in September 2022 and run until 2026, with Kampala paying $65 million each year to Kinshasa, failure of which the instalment will accrue a six percent annual interest rate.
Uganda’s Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka on Thursday said that although the court’s award was not as outrageous as the claims made, the decision did not meet the standard of fairness that Kampala expected. “We challenge and reject the findings of wrong doing on the part of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) which was singled out notwithstanding the acknowledgement of the court of the existence of so many belligerents in the conflict. The UPDF was and remains a disciplined force and a force for good,” he said.