ICJ Orders Uganda to Pay $325m to DR Congo in War Reparations 

The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has this Wednesday ordered Uganda to pay $325 million in war reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is a small fraction of $11bn which DR Congo had initially demanded for the damage caused by the violations of international obligations by Uganda, as found by the Court in its Judgment of 19 December 2005.

In its Judgment, which is final, without appeal and binding on the Parties, the Court, by twelve votes to two judges, ordered US$225,000,000 for damage to persons and US$40,000,000 for damage to property; and unanimously, US$60,000,000 for damage related to natural resources.

The coram of judges comprised Ugandan Justice Julia Sebutinde.

Court also decided that the total amount (US$325,000,000) due shall be paid in five annual instalments of US$65,000,000 starting on 1 September 2022 and that “should payment be delayed, post-judgment interest of 6 per cent will accrue on any overdue amount as from the day which follows the day on which the instalment was due.”

However, the court rejected the request of the Democratic Republic of the  Congo that the costs it incurred in the present case be borne by Uganda.

Court said it was “ satisfied that total sum and terms of payment remain within the capacity of Uganda to pay; therefore no need to consider the question whether account should be taken of the financial burden imposed on the responsible State.”

On December 19, 2005, the ICJ found that Uganda, by engaging in military activities against the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the latter’s territory, by occupying Ituri and by actively extending military, logistic, economic and financial support to irregular forces having operated on the territory of the DRC in the 1990s, violated the principle of non-use of force in international relations and the principle of non-intervention.

Uganda and Rwanda invaded DRC to fight President Mobuto Sseseko’s government which was accused of supporting rebels seeking to oust the regimes of Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame.

Uganda contended that, since 1994, it was the victim of military operations and other destabilizing activities carried out by hostile armed groups based in the DRC and either supported or tolerated by successive Congolese governments.

Court said Uganda fell short of producing sufficient evidence to show that DR Congo provided political and military support to anti-Ugandan rebel movements.

The Court noted that during this period, the DRC was in fact acting together with Uganda against the rebels, not in support of them.’

Kinshasa had conducted a study which showed that the macroeconomic damage suffered by the DRC as a result of the 1998-2003 war amounted to US$12,697,779,493.27. 

Since, in the DRC’s submission, the harm resulting from the war was not caused solely by Uganda’s internationally wrongful conduct but was also the consequence of acts of other States, court said Uganda’s share amounts to 45 per cent of the total. 

The ICJ concluded that the DRC has not demonstrated that a sufficiently direct and certain causal nexus exists between the internationally wrongful acts of Uganda and any possible macroeconomic damage. 

“The Court therefore cannot award compensation to the DRC for losses allegedly arising from the general disruption to the economy as a result of the conflict,” the judgment reads in part. 

Killings

The ICJ ruled that Uganda, by the conduct of its armed forces, which committed acts of killing, torture and other forms of inhumane treatment of the Congolese civilian population, destroyed villages and civilian buildings, failed to distinguish between civilian and military targets and to protect the civilian population in fighting with other combatants, trained child soldiers, incited ethnic conflict and failed to take measures to put an end to such conflict; as well as by its failure, as an occupying Power, to take measures to respect and ensure respect for human rights and international humanitarian law in Ituri district, violated its obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The Court observed that the evidence presented to it and the expert reports demonstrate that a large quantity of natural resources was looted, plundered and exploited in the DRC between 1998 and 2003.

“In respect of Ituri, Uganda is liable to make reparation for all such acts. As to areas outside of Ituri, a significant amount of natural resources looted, plundered and exploited is attributable to Uganda,” reads the judgement.

“However, neither the report by the Court-appointed expert nor the evidence presented by the DRC or set out in reports by the Porter Commission, United Nations bodies and non-governmental organizations is sufficient to prove the precise extent of the looting, plundering and exploitation for which Uganda is liable.”

The ICJ said Uganda was liable to make reparation for damage occurring in those parts of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and Virunga National Park located in Ituri, where Uganda was the occupying Power.

The post ICJ Orders Uganda to Pay $325m to DR Congo in War Reparations  first appeared on ChimpReports.

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