Continuing the saga of the seemingly perpetually impending peace deal between the Ugandan government and notorious rebel leader Joseph Kony, it appears that Kony is finally going to emerge from the bush to sign a deal tomorrow. Last week, Kony claimed a variety of reasons — including a lack of toilets — for delaying his appearance at the remote outpost on the Congo-Sudan border for the signing ceremony. Whether he shows tomorrow or not, one very important question remains unanswered: will the peace last? Reuters hits the nail on the head:
The LRA chief’s final intentions remain far from clear.
No outsiders have seen him in months, and even if he breaks cover to sign the final agreement, his fighters have refused to lay down their arms until the ICC warrants are scrapped.
Uganda’s government has said it will ask for the indictments to be lifted only after a final deal is reached. It was not clear whether that meant the rebels had to disarm first too.
Disarmament, of course, is always easier said that done, yet it remains the crux of any responsible peace plan. Justice and accountability are important attendant issues as well, as both we and Opinio Juris have emphasized, but the key — in the immediate term, at least — is a cessation of violence. Kony and the LRA seem committed enough to combating their ICC indictments — even acquiring visas to lobby the UN in New York — to engage in the peace process, but this is a rather tenuous — not to mention somewhat ironic — basis for a robust and long-standing accord.
For now, we’re waiting for Kony.