KAMPALA, UGANDA: The government of Uganda has paid 248 billion shillings ($65 million) as the first instalment of war reparation to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
DRC Spokesperson, Mr. Patrick Muyaya confirmed the development on Saturday saying Uganda made the first instalment as part of the ongoing war reparations to DRC for its role in the conflict there.
“The payment of this indemnity is being made in 5 installments of $65 million (Shs 248bn),” Muyaya said.
On February 9, 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Uganda to pay $325 million in reparations to DRC for damages to persons, property and natural resources resulting from Uganda’s military intervention in the wars in the DRC between 1998 and 2003.
In 2005, the ICJ had ordered Uganda to pay $11b in war reparations, but Uganda led by the former Attorney General, William Byaruhanga, appealed against the award, and a $325m reward was given to DRC.
ICJ held that Uganda violated international law by occupying parts of Ituri with its troops and supporting other armed groups during the war.
The court added that Uganda violated the principle of non-intervention when it got involved in direct and indirect military actions on DRC’s territory.
The payment comes against the improved relations between Uganda and DRC, with the two countries jointly implementing aggressive infrastructure projects in eastern Congo.
On the DRC invitation, Uganda deployed troops in 2021 to fight Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) under Operation Shujaa.
DRC is also a member of the East Africa Community (EAC), a regional bloc of seven countries, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
It is not clear how DRC will distribute the money that Uganda has paid in war reparations.
However, the ICJ asked DRC to devise a methodology for determining the equitable distribution of the awarded reparations to victims by setting up a victims’ compensation fund.
“We also call on the Congolese authorities to develop a comprehensive and coherent overarching policy on reparations, to also address the needs of other victims of human rights abuses in the country’s multiple conflicts and to ensure the execution of reparation ruling. The ICJ ruling should also serve as a reminder to the Congolese authorities that the passing of time cannot erase the grave human rights abuses committed in the DRC,” ICJ judges said in their ruling.
“We call on the Ugandan government to constructively engage with the Congolese authorities on the matter and to fully comply with the ICJ’s reparations order,” they added.
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