The recipient of the International Criminal Court’s first-ever indictments may avoid the dock in the Hague. Via Opinio Juris (the best international humanitarian law blog out there) Ugandan President Youweri Museveni says that he will no longer hand Joseph Kony, leader of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, over to ICC authorities for an international trial. Instead, Museveni will pursue a local form of justice akin to a traditional truth and reconciliation process against Kony, who recently signed a landmark peace agreement with the government.
This has to be disappointing to the ICC. Kony is certainly deserving of jail time. His militia terrorized the Acholi people of northern Uganda for more than two decades. On the other hand, the ICC deserves some credit for bringing Kony to the negotiating table. It was not until the ICC began its investigation and issued indictments that the LRA began to seek a peace agreement with the Ugandan government in good faith; the ICC indictments provided the critical leverage to get the peace process going. So what to do about this peace v justice dilemma? The Enough Campaign says so long as the peace process remains on track, the Security Council should invoke the ICC charter and suspend the indictments in favor of local forms of justice. Makes sense to me.