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Tuesday,October 20,2020 12:44 PM

Govt consults on northern war

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd August 2007 03:00 AM

Leaders in Acholi has recommended that a Mato-Oput commission be formed to reconcile the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government with the victims of the rebellion in northern Uganda.

Leaders in Acholi has recommended that a Mato-Oput commission be formed to reconcile the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government with the victims of the rebellion in northern Uganda.

By Chris Ocowun

Leaders in Acholi has recommended that a Mato-Oput commission be formed to reconcile the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Government with the victims of the rebellion in northern Uganda.

During a consultation meeting with the Government peace team in Gulu on Monday, the leaders said the commission should comprise elders, cultural, religious and opinion leaders.

The leaders also recommended that a special jury be established to investigate and try those suspected of having committed serious crimes. They, however, opposed trials by the International Criminal Court.

“Mato-Oput should take precedence over the formal court system for light crimes,” Aruu MP Odonga Otto said while presenting a report on behalf of the leaders.
“Once a rebel has reconciled with the victims through Mato-Oput, there should not be any kind of court trial again.”

Gladys Oyat, presenting another report of the women groups, said there was need for experts to document the serious crimes and atrocities committed by both the LRA rebels and the government, to be used as evidence for trying the culprits in formal courts.

The crimes to be tried in formal courts should include murder, defilement, rape, massive displacement of people into camps, body mutilation and sodomy during the 20 year war, she added.

The leaders also suggested that a truth and reconciliation commission be set up.

“Culprits should confess to the victims the crimes and atrocities they committed and compensation be made to those who lost lives and property,” Otto added.

During the meeting, the Acholi leaders said they feared it would be difficult for the government peace team reconcile the views of Acholi victims with those of Teso, Lango and West Nile regions.

Otto said children taken as captives by the LRA should be pardoned. At the same time, the LRA should inform the public about the children still in captivity.

The leaders added that laws protecting the former LRA rebels should be put in place.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, the leader of the Government peace team, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, thanked the leaders for their “vibrant deliberations” and promised that their views would be taken into consideration.

He, however, rejected claims for compensation. “We are not working for compensation. We are only working with the international community to mobilise funds to help the victims of the conflict live productive lives and also help the communities that have suffered,” he said.

He added that the Government would engage the ICC to review the indictments against the LRA leaders once the peace agreement was signed.

Govt consults on northern war

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