By James Gatdet Dak
February 3, 2008 (JUBA) — The two parties to the Juba peace talks ending the 21-years of brutal war in northern Uganda on Saturday reached a breakthrough on an annexure setting out the framework for implementation of the agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation.
- Ruhakana Rugunda head of Uganda government delegation exchanges greeting with LRA team leader David Masang after the signed the cession of hostility agreement in Juba, with GoSS Vice-President, Wed January 30, 2008 (I Vuni)
In a yet to be signed agreement text read out by the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan and Chief Mediator, Riek Machar Teny, the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have agreed to establish relevant bodies or legal institutions in Uganda to address the past.
They also agreed to the application of traditional justice mechanisms to backup the current Ugandan national justice system as an alternative to the International Criminal Court (ICC) justice system in addressing issues related to atrocities committed in the past and to promote reconciliation process. The parties further agreed on reparation of those affected by the conflict.
The LRA negotiators, however, could not sign the agreement text despite their expressed satisfaction and full agreement to the document. The leader of the LRA delegation, David Matsanga, said his delegation agreed to the document in its totality, but could not sign it before they explain it to Joseph Kony to bless it.
The government delegation expressed its readiness to sign the document.
The Minister of Presidential Affairs in the Government of Southern Sudan and member of the mediation team, Luka Biong Deng, told the press on Saturday that the agreement is ready and put aside for signature. He explained that the LRA delegation requested the Chief Mediator to give them time to consult with their leadership and explain the proposed agreement to Joseph Kony before they could sign it.
Deng further explained that the two parties also agreed to work on modalities for implementation of another agreement on Comprehensive Solutions to the Root Causes of the Conflict and to study the drafts on Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration (DDR) and Formal Ceasefire before the LRA peace negotiators could travel with the package of agreed upon, but yet to be signed documents to Sudan-Congo border to consult with their high command.
Machar distributed a Mediator’s draft paper on Comprehensive Solutions to the two parties and urged them to react to the draft, debate on it and reach an agreement on in the next few days.