ICJ Verdict: Uganda Disputes UPDF Wrongdoing in Congo

Just hours after Uganda’s Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka disputed the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Uganda should pay $325 million in war reparations to DRC over minerals looted during the 1998 – 2003 conflict, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has added its voice to reaffirm the country’s opposition on the ruling.

On February 9, 2022, the ICJ delivered its judgment on the question of reparation in the case concerning armed activities on the territory of the Congo (DRC vs Uganda case).

The ICJ ruled that Uganda should pay the DRC $325 million as compensation for damage that Ugandan forces caused to the DRC in the context of the 1998-2003 international armed conflict, in which the “armies of not less than eight different countries were involved.”

In 2005, the DRC, in its case, was asking for $11.5 billion.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that although the $325 million is far less than $11.5 billion sought by DRC in 2005, Uganda, nevertheless considers the judgement unfair and wrong.”

In its 2005 judgment, the Court ordered that at the compensation phase, the DRC would be required to demonstrate and prove the exact injury that was suffered as a result of specific actions of Uganda constituting internationally wrongful acts for which it is responsible.

“The DRC did not meet the burden the Court placed on it. Indeed, during the compensation phase, it did not come forward with evidence of even a single specific injury suffered as a result of any actions of Uganda,” the Ministry said.

“It is therefore, deeply unclear why the ICJ decided to depart from the requirement it previously imposed on the DRC, let alone how it arrived at the figure of US$325 million. For the record, Uganda disputes and rejects the findings of wrongdoing by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), widely known as one of the most disciplined forces in the world,” it added.

Uganda, it said respects the principles on which the ICJ was founded; to facilitate the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and added that in Uganda’s view, the Court’s Judgment on reparation does not contribute to peace and security, or the spirit of cooperation between the two countries, and in the wider Great Lakes Region nor does it inspire confidence in the Court as the fair and credible arbiter of international disputes that the framers of the UN Charter intended it to be.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry further stated that Uganda regrets that the ICJ verdict has come at a time when the two countries are continuing to strengthen their relations, and when Uganda is doing all in its means to assist, and work with the Government of the DRC in different areas, including; security, infrastructure, regional economic integration among others.

“Uganda continues to discuss the matter with DRC Government for purposes of securing a lasting and mutually acceptable solution. Uganda considers the Judgment an undue interference in this process and in African affairs generally, a fact towards which the Court appears insufficiently sensitive.”

Uganda insisted that it was not alone in the DRC during the relevant period.

“The Court itself acknowledged the presence of numerous other belligerents.”

Uganda also gave a reminder that the conflict was resolved through a peace accord signed, “the Lusaka Agreement,” which confirms the existence of other players during the material period.

“It is, therefore, regrettable that Uganda has been singled out in this fashion. Many will understandably ask: Why is Uganda alone that is being asked to pay for whatever supposedly went wrong during the conflict? The answer is that it is because Uganda has always believed in the international system, and hence agreed to subject itself to the jurisdiction of the ICJ in 1963 shortly after independence.”

“Uganda will continue to constructively engage with the brother country of the DRC on this, and other matters of mutual interest,” the statement by Foreign Affairs Ministry concluded.

The post ICJ Verdict: Uganda Disputes UPDF Wrongdoing in Congo first appeared on ChimpReports.

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