Delegates from a State Department designated foreign terrorist organization, the Lord’s Resistance Army, have been granted U.S. visas so they can travel to New York to meet the Security Council. Some background: The LRA is a militia that has terrorized the population of northern Uganda for nearly two decades. A peace deal, however, is in the works–and could even be signed by the LRA’s notorious leader as early as Thursday. One sticking point in the peace deal are what to do about the International Criminal Court indictments on the LRA’s leadership, and the delegates are hoping to press the Security Council to stay those indictments in the interest of peace.
The State Department’s decision to grant LRA delegates visas seems to signal that the United States is willing to at least countenance lifting the indictments. This is not entirely unreasonable. One possible solution to the justice v peace dilemma emerging from the peace talks in Northern Uganda, after all, is to exile Kony and his top lieutenants and temporarily lift the indictments in return for full compliance with the peace accord. This solution may make the ICC Prosecutor cringe, but it shows how politically useful these indictments can be as mechanisms to enforce a peace.