UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges Uganda and LRA to commit to principle of no-impunity for serious violations

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today urged the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to reject impunity and ensure respect for international standards during peace talks set to resume tomorrow in Juba, southern Sudan.

"For a peace agreement to be durable it must be based on the principles of justice, accountability and the rule of law", the High Commissioner said. "Any accord must reaffirm the commitment of both parties to the core principle of international law that there can be no amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and gross violations of human rights.

Recalling that members of the LRA have been indicted by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and war crimes, the High Commissioner said. "Discussions concerning those persons should be focusing on the terms and circumstances of their surrender so they can go and address the charges against them before the ICC".

The High Commissioner also encouraged parties in Juba to commit to a national "victim-centered consultative process" aimed at gathering the views of all stakeholders on appropriate justice, accountability and reconciliation mechanisms. "The peace agreement should set a timeframe for the national dialogue and identify an independent institution to coordinate the process, so that past abuses and violations, as well as deep-seated social and economic inequalities, may be addressed comprehensively", she added.

The High Commissioner commended the parties for extending the cessation of hostilities agreement and said the Juba talks provided a unique opportunity to set a framework for the longer term restoration of the rule of law and the rebuilding of a democratic society.