Kony's arrest warrant contradicts possible peace deal: former UN envoy

July 17, 2009 10:13 pm 

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 — The international arrest warrant for Uganda's rebel leader Joseph Kony and a peace agreement still missing his signature are fundamentally at odds, a former United Nations envoy for areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) said here on Friday.

"They are in contradiction, of course," said Joaquim Chissano whose office closed on Wednesday. "But one doesn't have to take the other into account. The peace agreement does not have to take into account the demands of the ICC (International Criminal Court) into consideration."

Kony, who is charged with 33 counts of crime against humanity and war crimes for his involvement in Uganda's 20-year civil war, has refused to sign the Juba peace agreement.

LRA negotiators have insisted that Kony's arrest warrant, issued by the ICC, be withdrawn as a condition of any peace agreement.

Although the Juba agreement contradicts the ICC arrest warrant, former Mozambique President Chissano said the only way for the warrant to be dropped is if the Ugandan government proves that is "willing and capable" of undertaking an internationally recognized judicial system for Kony to be tried at instead of at The Hague.

Until then, the ICC warrant will stand. It just won't figure into the peace agreement should Kony sign it, said Chissano.

When asked what would happen if Kony signed the peace agreement but traveled to a country that had pledged to arrest him, Chissano said that was putting "the cart ahead of the horse."

Chissano, who met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, noted that he decided to step down from his UN position of three years after it became clear that Kony was not going to sign the peace agreement.

"Kony has failed to fulfill his promise," said Chissano. "It's been one year and four months."

Should Kony change his mind, Chissano said the rebel leader knows where to find him.

"He has my cell phone number," he said.

This month, Chissano begins his new job leading talks aimed at resolving Madagascar's political crisis. As a mediator for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), he has the difficult task of bringing together supporters of democratically elected President Marc Ravalomanana, who was deposed in a coup d' etat in January, and followers of Andry Rajoelina, who assumed power. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM

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