THE amnesty to the Lords Resistance Rebels (LRA) expires today and Government says it is not renewing it. This means that the rebels who will have not surrendered by the end of today are to be prosecuted if captured, if not they will be killed in combat.
But the question is, does the expiry mean no more pardon for LRA fighters or the leadership?
This issue needs to be cleared.
Some government and army officials have been saying the amnesty will not be renewed for all the rebels. in a BBC interview broadcast on Christmas day, President Yoweri Museveni said the amnesty would continue for the rank and file but not the leaders.
If we go by the Presidentâ€™s word then it means LRA fighters will still have a chance after today.
But then it will require a legal instrument for legitimacy.
A new law should clearly separate the authors and implementers of the brutal terrorism on the people of northern Uganda. To the implementers, certainly more time should be given for them to surrender because they are forced to act against their will.
This forms a strong case for the extension of the amnesty period. It also means the Amnesty Commissionâ€™s tenure should be extended beyond January 17, 2004. To the authors, we agree with the President, itâ€™s time an international warrant of arrest was issued. They have squandered all the opportunities to end the war.
They frustrated all attempts by Government and religious leaders to have peace talks and have ignored the amnesty.
In other words they are not interested in ending the war.
They want to continue killing and plundering northern Uganda. There cannot be any further plea for them. They stand accused of committing crimes against humanity.
Pardon LRA fighters