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Peace and Reconciliation

April 1-30, 2009

Gulu University held a conference entitled "Juba Peace Talks: Lessons Learnt Workshop" on April 23-24. The objective was to identify lessons that could be applied in future engagement with stakeholders in the peace process between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda. Attendees included local politicians, religious and traditional leaders, donors, members of the diaspora, the military, non-governmental organizations, and media. The Danish Ambassador stated that LRA leader Joseph Kony and the remnants of his forces should be dealt with on a regional basis, with the partners stressing the need to protect civilian populations. He emphasized that the peace process resulted in an improved security situation in the north. He urged the redevelopment of northern Uganda.

March 1-31, 2009

On March 4, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Congolese President Joseph Kabila met on the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border to discuss bilateral political, economic, and military issues. The two presidents also discussed the continuation of joint military operations against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Ugandan officials told the media and diplomatic corps in a briefing on March 24 that Operation Lightning Thunder (OLT) had moved from Phase I to Phase II. The Ugandan Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) handed over its headquarters and command of the operation to the Congolese military on March 15. The two presidents agreed to continue the operation under Congolese command, with Ugandan intelligence and reconnaissance assistance and UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) support.

Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa told Kampala-based diplomats on March 24 that there will be no new talks with the LRA and that Kony must sign the already negotiated Final Peace Agreement (FPA). UPDF's Chief of Defense Forces, General Aronda, reported that OLT had succeeded in consolidating regional unity and that Kony is not safe in the region. Aronda reported that the assault against Kony had resulted in the death of 98 LRA rebels up to that point. The rebels had killed 12 UPDF soldiers and wounded 19 others. The army rescued a total of 380 captives.

UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano briefed donors on March 16 after he met with President Museveni in Kampala. Chissano said that he maintained contact with LRA spokesman David Matsanga. Kony reportedly wants a cease-fire, a military force consisting of 200 soldiers from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique to protect his assembly at Rikwangba, and a stakeholders' conference. Chissano insists that Kony should call him (Chissano) directly and maintain regular contact if he wants to talk about the peace process. To date, Kony has not called Chissano.

USG Activities: Northern Uganda Transition Initiative (NUTI) provided support for the latest Invisible Children community advocacy campaign entitled "Rescue Our Children." The first events kicked off in Gulu March 27 and 28 and were attended by thousands of northern Ugandans. P/E Chief and Northern Uganda Advisor represented the U.S. Mission at various activities including a peace march, symbolic destruction of displaced persons huts to celebrate the return home, along with traditional songs and dances. Some 10,000 Gulu residents and guests from other districts watched Invisible Children's latest documentary, "The Rescue of Joseph Kony's Child Soldiers," which details various failed peace processes and the failure of Kony to sign the FPA. It also highlights the continued abduction of children in DRC, Sudan, and Central African Republic. Invisible Children will hold a worldwide campaign day on April 25 in Washington, D.C., Mexico City, London, Paris, and Sydney to push for the release of the remaining LRA abductees.

The development of Uganda's legal framework to try war crimes is in its final stages. The USAID-funded Public International Law Group (PILPG) has been working with the Ministry of Justice and parliamentarians to finalize the International War Crimes Bill, which will criminalize war crimes and domesticate the International Criminal Court statute. Progress continues on formalizing traditional forms of justice and establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

On March 19, Ambassador Browning presented Sister Veronica Oyela with a "Woman of Courage Award" certificate for her contributions to the promotion of the prosperity of women, including child mothers returning from the conflict in northern Uganda; especially survivors of the LRA insurgency.

February 1-28, 2009

Joint military operations against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continued. Ugandan President Museveni and Congolese President Kabila met on March 4 on the Uganda-DRC border in Kasese to discuss the extension of "Operation Lightening Thunder" (OLT). In February, Uganda and DRC deployed additional forces into the area of operations to cordon off the LRA and provide additional protection for civilian populations. MONUC (UN Mission in Congo) provided logistics and maintenance for Congolese troops. Local populations have been expressing support for the continuation of the operation, according to Kampala-based diplomats that traveled to Dungu and Bunia from February 26-27. There have been no reports of human rights violations by Ugandan or Congolese troops in OLT, according to various non-governmental organizations and journalists.

On February 27, LRA negotiator David Matsanga urged the Ugandan government to halt the military operation against the LRA. Matsanga called for "an urgent and temporary ceasefire" to evaluate the failures and successes of the military operation in the region. He proposed a stakeholders' conference. Matsanga claimed that LRA leader Joseph Kony was committed to peace and alleged the LRA had captured 76 Ugandan, Congolese, and Sudanese prisoners of war, but there is no evidence to support this claim. The Government of Uganda (GOU) rejected Matsanga's proposal and reiterated its position that Kony must assemble at Riwkangba and sign the Final Peace Agreement (FPA).

January 1-31, 2009

Joint military operations against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continued. LRA spokesperson David Matsanga traveled to Maputo on January 4 with a letter for UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano. Matsanga appealed for a ceasefire in the ongoing military offensive against the LRA. He claimed that Kony wanted the peace negotiations re-opened.

On January 13, Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama, an Acholi religious leader, called on the governments of Southern Sudan, DRC and Uganda to stop the offensive against the LRA rebels. He argued that the war was costly and many innocent people were being killed. He appealed to the allied governments to consider returning to the peace talks.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) issued a statement on January 16 strongly condemning the recent LRA attacks on Congolese civilians, which have resulted in over 500 deaths, 400 abductions, and the displacement of 104,000 people. The UNSC expressed grave concern at the scale of these atrocities and emphasized that those responsible must be brought to justice. The UNSC reiterated its call for the LRA to cease its attacks, recruitment and use of children, and to release all women, children and non-combatants. It expressed disappointment that its previous calls have not been heeded. The UNSC urged the LRA to surrender, assemble, and disarm, as required by the Final Peace Agreement (FPA).

Uganda's Amnesty Commission granted amnesty to Major Johnson Okello and Lt. Col. Silva Ochora on January 22. The two were former members of the Cessation of Hostility Monitoring Team for the LRA.

USG Activities: Ambassador Browning and P/E Chief met with the Acholi Parliamentary Group on January 9. The parliamentarians raised concerns about the protection of civilians during the military operations against the LRA. The APG was disappointed in the PRDP delay but had recommended a postponement because it was not yet implementable in a coherent, accountable manner.

Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa and Chief of Defense Forces Aronda Nyakairima briefed the diplomatic corps on January 23. Ambassador Browning attended. Nyakairima announced a three-week extension of joint military operations against the LRA. The extension was agreed to during Nyakairima's meeting with the Congolese Chief of General Staff, Lt. General Didier Etumba, in Dungu on January 18-19. They agreed to review the progress of the operation at the end of 21 days. Nyakairima told the diplomatic corps that the LRA had used the peace process to re-organize, recruit, and replenish their supplies. Nyakairima appealed to the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) to assist in rapid response through logistics support for Congolese troops deploying to protect threatened civilian populations.

December 1-31, 2008

On December 2, Government of Southern Sudan Mediator, Riek Machar, informed Congolese President Kabila and Ugandan President Museveni of the failure of Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony to sign the Final Peace Agreement (FPA). Machar, the U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano, and the parties had concluded that the formal phase of the Juba Peace Process had ended after four failed attempts to secure Kony's signature. Machar stated that Kony continued to insist that he would not sign the agreement until the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants are lifted. Between December 4 and 8, Machar traveled to Kinshasa and Kampala with LRA delegation leader David Matsanga to further explain the failure of the Juba negotiations and discuss future options with Kabila and Museveni. Matsanga told President Museveni that Kony wanted to speak to him directly. Museveni, who had given Kony three telephone lines on which to reach him as early as December 2006, reiterated that he would take Kony's call at any time.

After Kony refused again to sign the FPA in late November, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and southern Sudan launched a joint military operation against the LRA leadership on December 14. "Operation Lightening Thunder" began with air-strikes against Kony's camps in Garamba National Park. Museveni told a press conference that Kony escaped five minutes prior to the air-strike. He claimed that Khartoum had provided Kony with equipment that enabled the LRA leader to intercept communications from the incoming helicopters. Museveni stated that "victory is assured" and that Kony would not be able to escape the cordon surrounding him set up by the three allied armies. Museveni said that Kony's only way out was to assemble his forces at Rikwangba and to sign the FPA.

The Congolese and Southern Sudanese Governments made public statements in support of the operation. On December 15, Machar publicly stated that Kony needed to assemble his fighters in Rikwangba to avoid further military attacks. Machar urged the LRA to respect the terms of assembly and to sign and implement the peace agreement. The Congolese Government also issued a statement urging the LRA to assemble and sign the agreement. The UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) stated its support for the operation, but urged combatants to respect international human rights and to protect civilian populations.

Chissano presented his report on the peace process to the UN Security Council on December 17. He outlined Kony's failure to show up for arranged meetings and continued attacks on civilians in the DRC in October and November that killed over 100 people, saw 200 others abducted, and displaced thousands of Congolese. Chissano's last face-to-face meeting with Kony was in April 2007. During his briefing with Museveni after Kony failed to sign the agreement, Museveni informed him that he had Congolese President Kabila's agreement to undertake joint regional military action to compel Kony to assemble at Rikwangba and sign the peace deal. Chissano concluded that Kony would not agree to a peace deal as long as the ICC warrants remained. However, Chissano said that the LRA leader did not accept the provisions in the agreement that offered a "smart and robust" national solution combining both formal and traditional justice mechanisms.

Chissano stated that throughout the peace process, Kony did not involve himself directly in the negotiations and gave an impression of lack of interest. As a result, Chissano argued that "for any solution to be credible, it must either bring Kony to the table to sign the FPA or render him more marginal, thus curbing his ability to reverse the peace dividends which are currently being enjoyed in northern Uganda." The Special Envoy concluded that "as long as Kony feels other options are still open to him, as long as he can venture into CAR, Sudan, DRC, and possibly Uganda, he is unlikely to sign the FPA." Chissano argued that for these reasons, Uganda and its neighbors launched the joint regional military action to compel Kony to assemble in Rikwangba and sign the FPA. He stated that "this military action will have to be a decisive one, rather than simple military pressure. Ineffective military action would have devastating military, humanitarian, social, economic and political consequences in the DRC, southern Sudan, and possibly northern Uganda and CAR."

Gains from the peace process need to be consolidated, according to Chissano. He recommended that the Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan for northern Uganda be fully implemented and that the Ugandan Government implement the FPA, even without Kony's signature. A UNSC statement, issued on December 22, welcomed joint efforts by Uganda, DRC and South Sudan to address the security threat posed by the LRA. The statement demanded that the LRA cease recruitment and use of children and release all captives.

LRA spokesperson Matsanga made several public statements during the month, appealing to the allied governments to end the military attacks on the LRA. Matsanga said that Kony requested that he (Matsanga) appeal to President Museveni to declare a cease-fire in the on-going military offensive in the DRC and to resume peace talks. Matsanga further requested that the venue of the talks should shift to South Africa, Tanzania, or Kenya. He claimed that Kony wanted Machar and Chissano to be replaced. Matsanga accused the Government of Southern Sudan of being biased after it joined forces with Uganda and DRC. Machar shot back on December 23 and stated that there will be no fresh talks with the LRA rebels. Matsanga re-iterated the demands for a new mediator and venue on December 31.

November 1-30, 2008

The Chief Mediator of the Juba Peace Process, Government of Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar, held a stakeholders' conference in Kampala on November 5 aimed at creating a roadmap for achieving final signatures and implementation of the Final Peace Agreement between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GOU). UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas, Joachim Chissano, the parties, donors, and non-governmental organizations participated. The stakeholders demanded that the LRA stop attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and sign the FPA without conditions by November 30. In addition, the stakeholders urged Chissano to continue his role and donors to continue support for the peace process.

The conference communique acknowledged that the LRA had not assembled, that its attacks in the DRC had caused great suffering, that non-implementation of the peace agreement was putting Great Lakes security at risk, and that Chissano's mandate was coming to an end on December 31. Stakeholders' urged:

-- The LRA to stop attacks and to unconditionally sign the FPA before November 30, assemble, and immediately release the children held captive;

-- All parties, the Chief Mediator, and Special Envoy to make the necessary arrangements for Kony to sign the agreement;

-- The continuation of Chissano's role in working to resolve the LRA conflict; and

-- The international community to continue support for FPA implementation.

In a much-anticipated response to the conference, Machar and Chissano arranged a meeting for Kony with his delegation at Rikwangba for November 28 and 29 (reftels). Kony refused to hold the meeting until donor-provided food was delivered, causing the meeting to slip a day. Northern elders and religious leaders, members of Parliament, and LRA delegation members, including David Matsanga walked to a location some five kilometers from Rikwangba for the meeting and spent two nights in the LRA encampment. After being subjected to stringent security precautions, the elders met with Kony on November 29. Reports from participants indicate that Kony demanded that the ICC warrants be lifted. He claimed that he had been receiving text messages telling him that he would be killed if he returned to northern Uganda. Senior LRA officers were even more hard-line than Kony and demanded to know what security guarantees they would have if the agreement was signed. They threatened three northern Ugandan leaders not present, which alarmed the delegation. Kony made no contact with either Machar or Chissano during the weekend. Machar held a meeting with Chissano and the parties on December 1. The decision was made to discontinue the Juba Peace Process, but without closing the door for Kony to sign the FPA should he alter his behavior at some time in the future and desire a peaceful end to the LRA conflict (ref C).

On November 6, President Museveni reassured Machar that the Government of Uganda (GOU) is ready to sign the FPA. Museveni said that the government would fulfill its mandate to rehabilitate the war-affected areas of the north. The meeting also was attended by Chissano and Internal Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

Uganda Amnesty Commission Chair Justice Peter Onega reported that a two-year project worth $2.2 million was launched to support former LRA combatants. He told the New Vision on November 2 that the program will focus on child mothers, persons with disabilities, women and child soldiers.

On November 10, Government of South Sudan Director of Presidential Affairs Martin Majut Yak said that his government was considering the use of force against the LRA to push them out of southern Sudan if Kony fails to sign the FPA. Majut Yak told a press conference in Kampala that the GOSS will not allow Kony rebels to use southern Sudan as a base to destabilize the region.

October 1-31, 2008

On October 8, Southern Sudan's President Salva Kiir demanded a timeframe within which the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) must sign the Final Peace Agreement (FPA). Kiir told southern Sudanese parliamentarians that he could not wait indefinitely for LRA leader Joseph Kony to sign the FPA. Kiir appealed to the UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas, Joachim Chissano, and Chief Mediator Riek Machar to provide a deadline for the signing of the FPA so that other options can be explored.

The establishment of the War Crimes Division of the High Court could be delayed, according to Principal Judge James Ogoola. On October 3, Justice Ogoola told a human rights consultative meeting that the absence of an appropriate domestic law could limit the scope of the new division. Meanwhile, on October 28 the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced the commencement of a pre-trial court to determine if Kony would be tried by the international court or the Ugandan High Court. The ICC appointed a lawyer to defend Kony and the other two ICC indictees. The GOU, the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo, and Kony's lawyer were invited to submit views on the court by November 10.

Ocampo renewed calls for the arrest of Kony following recent LRA attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and southern Sudan. On October 22, the ICC pressed the DRC to execute arrest warrants for the LRA leaders. The ICC called on the DRC to provide detailed information on measures it was taking to execute the warrants of arrest. The responses are due on November 17.

September 1-31 2008

Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony again failed to show up for a September 6 meeting in Rikwangba to resume peace talks. It was the fifth attempt to draw Kony out of the bush for talks since April. Kony reportedly phoned Acholi Paramount Chief Rwot Acana II on September 11 to explain his intentions. Acana said that Kony apologized for the delay in signing Final Peace Agreement (FPA), but insisted that the ICC indictments were to blame. UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano traveled to Juba on September 6 in anticipation of traveling with the LRA delegation to Rikwangba.

Northern traditional and religious leaders traveled to Juba on September 17. The delegation was originally scheduled to travel on to Rikwangba, but Kony's failure to show on September 6 caused the trip's cancellation. In Juba, leaders met with Government of Southern Sudan mediator Riek Machar to discuss FPA challenges. Machar and the northern leaders, despite Kony's repeated failure to show, noted that they thought it was important for an LRA-affected conflict area delegation, led by Acana and accompanied by the LRA delegation, to meet with Kony.

On September 17, six former LRA commanders, who defected between October and December 2007, returned to Gulu. The ex-commanders include Opio Makasi, Vincent Okema, Raphael Jalobo, George Okech, Sunday Kidega, and Alex Ojok. Traditional leaders and the Amnesty Commission held a welcoming ceremony for the defectors at Acana's palace on September 23. The traditional ceremony signified the ex-combatants' return to the Acholi community and represented the first stage of the Mato Oput cleansing ceremony. USAID funded the ceremony through the IOM. The UNDP also provided funding.

Mercy Corps held a three-day, USAID-funded Peace Forum in the Pader District September 25-27. Parish-level Peace Committees, established and trained by Mercy Corps, joined key decision-makers to build the capacity of local residents to participate in community peace and reconciliation activities. USAID Deputy Director, during her keynote address, underscored USG efforts to support conflict mitigation and peace-building in the north. The Pader Peace Forum was the largest event of its kind to be held in the relatively new Pader District and was well-attended by Ministers, Members of Parliament, central and local government officials, and members of the Ugandan press.

USG Activities: The Ambassador, DCM, and P/E Chief attended UN-Special Envoy Chissano's debriefings on the status of the LRA peace process. The DCM and USAID Deputy Mission Director discussed the future of the peace process and implementation of the Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP) with local government leaders and non-governmental organizations during a September 22-25 visit to Kitgum District.

August 1-31 2008
UN Special Envoy for the LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano traveled to the region from August 13-19. His team had put in place arrangements with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony to meet with his negotiators on August 24. The meeting did not take place. Kony blamed a skirmish between the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) and the LRA, and a stand-off between the SPLA and the NGO CARITAS over a donor-provided food delivery on August 21. Two SPLA soldiers were reportedly killed in the skirmish. Kony contacted Chissano's office in Kampala and requested that the meeting take place on/about September 6.

On August 5, the Government of Uganda (GOU) granted James Obita, the former leader of the LRA negotiating team, amnesty. Justice Peter Onega, The Chairman of the Amnesty Commission, announced the extension of the Amnesty Act for two years. The law was enacted in January 2000 for six months and has been renewed successively since then. It provides for blanket amnesty to Ugandans who denounce rebellion. A total of 12,841 former LRA rebels have been granted amnesty since the establishment of the Amnesty Commission in 2000. Overall, 22,921 ex-fighters and collaborators from various rebel groups have been granted.

USG Activities: In early August, the GOU began formal discussions to design a transitional justice process for implanting key elements of the agreements on Accountability and Reconciliation from the Juba peace process. A retreat was hosted by the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) and included presentations by the Chief Justice, the Principal Judge of the High Court, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Minister for Internal Affairs. JLOS is scheduled to present a proposal for an integrated transitional justice system to Cabinet by November; the proposal will deal with legal and institutional mechanisms for war crimes, traditional mechanisms and the relevance of truth-telling and national reconciliation. The USG will support this process through legal and technical assistance from the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG).

In recent weeks, Uganda's Amnesty Commission has distributed 231 USG-funded reintegration packages to amnestied ex-combatants in Gulu, Kitgum, Kampala and Kasese. Hundreds more packages are scheduled for distribution in the coming month to new reporters and the backlog of cases from 1 January 2006 who have not yet received reintegration support from the GOU. In addition to reintegration packages, the USG has supported the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in providing health and psychosocial care to former LRA who are currently in GOU custody. IOM also supported traditional cleansing ceremonies for several new reporters in their home communities. On August 26, the Ambassador, USAID Director, and P/E Chief briefed Resolve Uganda Executive Director Michael Poffenberger on USG engagement in northern Uganda.o

(July 12-31, 2008)

There were few indications that the Lord's Resistance leader Joseph Kony would sign the final peace agreement. On July 22, South Sudan President Salva Kiir met with President Museveni to discuss border security and the LRA. Kiir dispelled media reports that the South Sudan government had asked the Uganda military to pull out of its territory. Kiir said his government remained in favor of a peaceful solution to the northern conflict. The Uganda Government peace team is waiting for a report from UN envoy Special Envoy Joachim Chissano and the Chief Mediator, South Sudan's Vice President on when Kony is expected to sign the final agreement.

On July 30, James Obita, former leader of the LRA delegation to the Juba peace talks applied for amnesty with the Uganda Amnesty Commission. Obita was dismissed as head of the LRA delegation in June. In an interview, he claimed he was not fired, but that when the peace negotiating team's mandate ended, the team ceased to exist.

(June 1 - July 11)

On June 5, LRA delegation head James Obita asked the GOU, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), and MONUC to hold on any military action against the LRA to allow for a final push for a peace agreement. The request followed President Museveni's declaration that the peace process was over and that the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Force (UPDF) was ready to deal with the LRA. On June 6, UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano met with Ugandan authorities to discuss the future of the peace process. On June 7, northern elders and religious leaders urged the GOU to maintain dialogue with the LRA, adding that military action could plunge the region into another "nightmare of fear and misery."

Chief Mediator Reik Machar pushed for continuation of talks and called for the implementation of the already signed aspects of the agreement with or without the Final Peace Agreement (FPA). The Greater North Parliamentary Association (GNPA), a grouping of 90 Members of Parliament (MPs) from the five war affected sub-regions, urged the GOU and LRA rebels to resume peace talks which collapsed on April 10. GNPA Chairperson Felix Okot Ogong said that it was unfortunate that the GOU and the rebels were "beating war drums again."

On June 22, Joseph Kony announced that he wanted to return to peace negotiations with the GOU. He told Radio France International (RFI) that negotiation was the only way to end the conflict, and called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop the war crimes charges against him. On June 23, Kony appointed a new team, including David Nyekorach Matsanga who he had dismissed on April 9. Matsanga replaced Dr. James Obita as the Chairman of the team, having taken over from Martin Ojul in 2007.

Matsanga said that the ICC warrants remain an obstacle to an FPA, and urged the GOU to approach the UN Security Council on the issue. On June 16, the ICC in a public statement pressed for enforcement of the warrants and called for an end to support for the indictees. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said that Kony must appear in court to answer war crimes charges. The European Union (EU) welcomed efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict and condemned LRA abductions in the region in a June 30 statement.

May 3-31, 2008

LRA leader Joseph Kony failed to appear for a meeting at Rikwangba, southern Sudan with northern elders and legal experts on May 10. Northern elders condemned the diaspora who they claim were working against the peace in a statement on May 13. Kony allegedly wrote a letter dated May 19 removing hopes for a negotiation. The message, written in Luo was delivered to Martin Aliker, a Senior Presidential Advisor through a trusted intermediary. Kony said he was not ready to sign the agreement because he feared to be hanged by a court in Europe or in Uganda. In the letter, Kony vowed to continue fighting rather than to surrender and get killed. A member of the GOU peace delegation said they have not received Kony's communication and that the final agreement remained available for him to sign. Post has not been able to authenticate the letter.

On May 6 and 7, legal experts explained the provisions for justice and accountability to northern leaders who were to meet Kony on May 10. The major issues discussed included the traditional justice system (mato oput) and the Special Division of the High Court to be set up to try the rebels for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The GOU has not renewed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, which expired on April 10. On May 22, Principal Judge Justice James Ogoola appointed Dan Akiiki Kizza to head the War Crimes Court, which would handle a trial of top LRA commanders implicated in crimes against humanity. Two other judges were appointed on the war court including Justice Eldad Mwangusya and Justice Ibanda Nahamanya. Justice Ogoola said a team from the High Court was working out the appropriate structures, personnel, tools and tools that would be required.

March 1-April 18, 2008

The date for the signature of the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) slipped through March into April. The LRA delegation held a consultation with northern Ugandan leaders in Juba on March 26 and 27. The Government and LRA agreed to extend the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to April 6 and then to April 15. The Government has not decided on whether it will renew the CHA.

Ruhakana Rugunda, the leader of the Government's negotiating team, told Parliament that Kony did not show up at Rikwangba on April 10. Kony reportedly said that he was not expecting to sign an agreement and thought that he was meeting traditional and religious leaders to discuss the peace process. Kony reportedly wanted to know what procedures (mato oput) and institutions (Special Division of the High Court) were envisaged. Rugunda noted that there was in-fighting within the LRA delegation, which may have contributed to conflicting reports reaching Kony. David Matsanga was removed as leader of the LRA delegation. Rugunda noted that Matsanga said he resigned and was not sacked.

The GOU left Rikwangba on April 11 when it was clear that Kony was a few days walk from the venue. The GOU agreed with the Government of Southern Sudan mediator Riek Machar that the GOU would return to Kampala while Machar and religious and traditional leaders tried to make contact with Kony.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited Juba on April 14 and reviewed the peace process with the Government of Southern Sudan's President, Salva Kiir. Rugunda told Parliament that the GOU was waiting for reports from Machar and the U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Chissano, who was scheduled to brief the UNSC on April 28. (Since postponed.)

February 1-29, 2008

The Government of Uganda and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) signed two final documents on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and the implementing protocol on February 29. The parties also agreed to extend the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement until March 28. The date for the ceremonial signing of the Final Peace Agreement was not set, but should occur before March 28. The LRA delegation said it needed to visit the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to get assurances that a request for a deferment of the arrest warrants from the U.N. Security Council would be honored.

The overall agreement consists of five sections. The parties agreed on comprehensive solutions to the conflict, which includes special attention to the economic recovery of northern Uganda, positions for northerners in the government, and a fund for reparations for conflict victims. The accountability and reconciliation mechanism includes the creation of a special division of the High Court to handle prosecutions of the most serious crimes. The promotion of truth telling and traditional justice mechanisms as a part of the alternative justice mechanism, and amnesty for eligible individuals also were included. The agreement on cease-fire and on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, reintegration, and reinsertion provide for receiving and resettling former combatants through orderly demobilization. The implementing protocol for the agreement provides for the Government of Uganda to make a request to the U.N. Security Council for a deferment of the ICC arrest warrants after the LRA fully assembles.

USG Activities: Senior Advisor for Conflict Resolution Tim Shortley traveled to Kampala and then Juba on February 18 to serve as the U.S. observer to the peace talks. P/E Chief participated in Juba from February 26 to March 1.

January 1-31, 2008

The talks resumed on January 30, with the U.S. and European Union named as official observers. The Government of Uganda and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) signed an extension of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) until February 29. The parties also agreed to a timetable to accelerate the talks.

LRA leader Joseph Kony reshuffled his delegation on January 23. He had met with the delegation near Rikwangba on/about January 22. After the group returned to Juba, Kony then announced via teleconference that he dropped several members of his negotiating team, including the head of delegation, Martin Ojul, on January 23. The new LRA delegation consists of: Dr. David Matsanga (head), James Obita (deputy), Willy Oryem, Anyena Odongo (legal advisor), Yusef Adek, Justine Labeja, Santa Okot, and Peter Ongom. Seven other members from the diaspora and within northern Uganda also were named.

U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano visited Kampala from January 24-26 to meet with President Museveni. He met with the LRA delegation in Nairobi on January 28.

On January 21, LRA defectors Sunday Otto and Richard Odong-kau received re-affirmation of their amnesty. Amnesty Commissioner Justice Onenga explained that there were exceptional circumstances involved in their cases and that their previously granted amnesty was re-instated. Vincent Okema, Ojok Alex, and Okello Opio received their amnesty certificates. The Amnesty Commission was unable to provide their amnesty packages due to a lack of funds.

USG Activities: P/E Chief briefed Kenny Fenechek of Resolve Uganda, on January 3 and Julia Spiegel of ENOUGH on January 24 on current status and dynamics of the peace talks. P/E Chief and PAO met with student groups from the University of Virginia's Human Rights Law Project and the University of Pennsylvania's Law School on January 2 and 7.

Senior Advisor for Conflict Resolution Tim Shortley, Charge, and embassy officers met with Ugandan government officials, European partners, and Chissano during a visit to Kampala from January 24-27. He traveled to Juba to participate in the resumption of the peace talks on January 30 in Juba. Uganda Desk Officer Bisola Ojikutu visited Uganda from January 28 to February 5.

Business Executives for National Security, a group of private U.S. business owners, traveled to Gulu on January 23 to assess the security and humanitarian situation. The group also met with Ugandan Government officials and businessmen in Kampala.

The talks resumed on January 30 with the U.S., European Union, Canada, and Norway joining the process as observers.

December 1 -31, 2007

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) wrapped up its consultations in Uganda on December 18. The delegation met with President Museveni prior to its departure to Juba and again urged the suspension of the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants if a peace deal were signed. The delegation traveled to Juba and Nairobi. It planned to meet with LRA leader Joseph Kony on/about January 3 to present the findings of the consultations in Uganda. The LRA hoped to hold its final consultative meeting between Kony and approximately 200-300 Ugandans at Ri-kwangba on/about January 10-14.

U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano traveled within the region and met with President Museveni on December 13. He urged flexibility on the January 31 deadline, set by Presidents Museveni and Kabila in Arusha in September. He met with the LRA delegation and urged them to focus on completing work on the accountability and reconciliation mechanisms as quickly as possible. Chissano traveled to Gulu on December 17 and met with northern local and traditional leaders. He also opened the Wider Northern Uganda Conference on Reconciliation in Gulu. He urged the northern leaders to tell Kony that the mediators were ready to facilitate a resolution to the conflict. Chissano did not see Kony on the visit because the LRA delegation had not yet presented the results of its consultations to him.

On November 30, six LRA defectors arrived in Uganda, including Vincent Okema, Captain Sunday Otto, George Okello, Richard Odong and two minors. Another seven defectors arrived in Uganda on December 19. All were granted amnesty except for Okema and Otto, who had violated an earlier amnesty by returning to the bush in 2003.

LRA leader Joseph Kony called Gulu District Chairman Norbert Mao on December 21. Kony told Mao that Museveni's threat to attack his base in Garamba National Park and the January 31 deadline undermined the Juba peace talks. Kony called Museveni's remarks hostile propaganda, which violated the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Kony said that he was not going to attack or declare war as he is committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Kony stated that deadlines should be set in Juba, not Arusha, Kampala, or Addis Ababa. He stated that the peace deal cannot be signed by January 31 because his delegation had not concluded their consultations on agenda item three on accountability and reconciliation. Kony told Mao that it was now the festive season and his team needed a break for the holiday. Kony stated that he was being wrongly judged and that he did not send anyone to collect bullets or guns and he was not going to declare an attack or offensive. Kony also complained that his delegation was not well-facilitated by the secretariat for the peace talks, leading to some delegation members being held hostage in hotels over unpaid bills. Mao said that Kony "dodged" him on LRA deputy Otti's fate.

President Museveni traveled to Gulu to close the wider Northern Uganda Conference. While in Gulu, he met with elected, religious, and traditional leaders. Rwot Acana asked Museveni to establish a national truth and reconciliation commission headed by a High Court judge and composed of people of integrity appointed by the government.

November 3- 30, 2007

The LRA's negotiating team arrived in Kampala on November 1 and met with President Museveni on November 3. Museveni encouraged the LRA members to sign a peace deal and said that the LRA would be welcomed back into Uganda. The LRA delegates insisted that the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictments be lifted.

During the meeting, the Government and LRA extended the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) until January 31. The CHA extension would be reviewed on February 1.

Patrick Opiyo Makasi, the LRA's chief of operations, fled the LRA's Garamba Park hideout on October 2 after Joseph Kony arrested his deputy, Vincent Otti, along with other top officers and combatants. On November 1, Makasi and his wife applied for and were granted amnesty after renouncing rebellion.

Makasi detailed the rupture between Kony and Otti in the press. He said Kony had invited Otti to a meeting at which he was arrested. Makasi feigned illness and did not go. He fled the LRA camp after being tipped off that he was to be arrested. Makasi said that there were only 834 people in the LRA camp. Six hundred of them were fighters, according to Makasi.

LRA negotiators continued to deny allegations of LRA deputy leader Otti's death during their consultations in Uganda. Northern residents demanded to hear Otti's voice on the radio and refused to participate in consultations at Rikwangba, the last stage of the LRA meetings, until Kony clarified Otti's fate. Kony refused to appear on the radio, but instead called Gulu District Chairman Norbert Mao and claimed that Otti was under arrest, not dead.

Another group of LRA defectors confirmed that Otti was killed on October 2 on orders from Kony. The group reached U.N. peacekeepers on November 18 and included Sunday Otto, Richard Okema, and Odong-kau. They claimed that senior LRA officers Ben Accelam, Otim Record, and Swaib Adjumani were killed alongside Otti.

The LRA completed its consultations in the north and then proceeded to western and central Uganda. The overwhelming message was for the LRA to sign a peace deal and return home. Northern opinion remained decidedly anti-ICC, but in areas such as Lango and Teso there was more popular support for a legal trial than in Acholi districts.

During its delegation meeting with Museveni, the LRA requested that Uganda petition the International Criminal Court to suspend the arrest warrants for the indicted LRA leaders. The delegates asserted that the warrants should be suspended for 12 months to allow Joseph Kony to sign a comprehensive peace agreement. Religious, cultural, and local leaders support the suspension of the warrants and advocate traditional justice methods to restore relationships with communities.

October 20- November 2, 2007

On October 23, President Museveni told Joachim Chissano, UN Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas, that further delays in the negotiations would pose serious threats to the stability of the region.

Opiyo Makasi, Operations Commander of the LRA, fled the LRA's Garamba Park hideout on October 2. He reportedly surrendered himself to Congolese forces during a routine arms check on October 9 in Isoro. Makasi was accompanied by his wife. The two were flown to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. On October 25, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) handed Makasi over to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo (MONUC). Makasi discussed substantial information on the funding, armament, and military strength of the LRA according to press reports.

On November 1, members of the LRA's negotiation team arrived in Uganda to begin consultations on Agenda Item Three: Accountability and Reconciliation. The consultations are scheduled to conclude December 13. Ugandan Government officials were skeptical that the talks in Juba would restart before January 2008. Joseph Kony reorganized the negotiation team at Juba, appointing David Norekesh to the team in place of Josephine Apire.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC) stated that he was concerned with the possibility that the LRA sold food aid. ICC authorities suspect that surplus food was delivered to the rebels as a result of inaccurate accounting of their numbers. The method of distribution at the Ri-Kwangaba assembly site made it almost impossible to account for who was receiving food in Garamba National Park, according to Moreno-Ocampo.

The LRA received USD 106,000 from the USD 7.7 million Juba Initiative Fund (JIF). The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will now manage donor funds contributed to the JIF.

On November 7 the Monitor reported that 450 people will visit Kony in Garamba Park. The trip sponsored by the United Nations (UN) will be used build confidence between northerners and the LRA. The group will consist of two Members of Parliament (MP's) from each party, members of civil society, and religious leaders.

October 6 - 19, 2007

On October 18 and 19, press reports, Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) officials and Ugandan Government officials began confirming news reports that Opio Makasi an 18-year veteran of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and its chief operations officer left the LRA camp in Garamba National park, in DRC seeking a United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) unit to which to surrender. On October 9, Makasi had surrendered himself to a Congolese police unit, which reportedly took him into custody. He was taken to Kinshasa and was being held by military intelligence, according to press reports. The Government of Uganda requested Makasi be turned over to Ugandan officials.

U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano traveled in the region from October 19-23. Charge attended a donor meeting with Chissano, who planned to visit Juba and Rikwangba during the visit. Chissano reported on his earlier meetings with Central African Republic President Bozize and Democratic Republic of Congo President Kabila. Chissano thought the launch of the Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP) would help discussions for the implementing protocol for Agenda Item Two: Comprehensive Solutions. Chissano met with President Museveni and Ugandan Government officials before departing for Juba.

International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo called for the criminal prosecution of LRA leader Joseph Kony and his three top leaders during a briefing on October 18. He insisted that all four LRA indictees charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity be tried in the ICC in The Hague. Ocampo noted that the LRA was contributing greatly to instability in the region and had yet to release sex slaves and children.

On October 14, Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda emphasized the success of the consultations on Agenda Item Three: Accountability and Reconciliation of the peace talks. He stated that the government had consulted with stakeholders in several parts of the country including Gulu, Lira, Teso, Adjumani, Arua, Mbale, Masaka, Mbarara, and Masindi. In addition, the GOU consulted with judiciary officials, academia, and civil society. The consultations cost USD 400,000 and were funded by The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States. According to Rugunda, people across the country were yearning for peace, accountability, and reconciliation. Rugunda acknowledged that the LRA had expressed a desire to handle funds contributed by development partners for their part of the consultations. However, he confirmed that funds will be handled only by the mediator on behalf of the Government of Southern Sudan. Rugunda expressed support for an acceleration of the peace talks.

The LRA demanded the immediate release of USD 600,000 for public consultations and mobilization in Uganda. The LRA accused the donors of inaction, which in the LRA opinion could cause the unraveling of the peace talks. Godfrey Ayoo, spokesperson for the LRA refuted allegations that the funds would be used for the purchase of weapons and food. The LRA's Juba delegation met with Government of Southern Sudan mediator Riek Machar to discuss its plan to visit 20 locations in Uganda as part of its consultation process.

During the October 7 inauguration of the (UPDF) Armored Brigade Field Engineering Regiment, Chief of Defense Forces Aronda Nyakairima announced that the army would actively pursue LRA rebels if a peace agreement was not reached. Nyakairama stated, however, that the UPDF was committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict with the LRA. He cited the integration of former rebels into the army as evidence of the military's commitment to peace.

The Government of Uganda has been attempting to assuage fears concerning the Sudan People's Liberation Movement's (SPLM) standoff with Khartoum over implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Northern Ugandans were concerned that the peace deal reached between the SPLM and the Khartoum government in 2005 was in trouble and that violence could resume in Southern Sudan.

September 22 - October 5, 2007

The Government of Uganda completed its consultations on accountability and reconciliation mechanisms in Kampala from September 26-27. The well-attended meetings involved legal experts, police, academics, media, the Amnesty Commission, Uganda Human Rights Commission, and parliamentarians. One member of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) participated. Four of the five African observers to the Juba Peace Talks also attended. Participants were divided into working groups on technical issues to discuss the enactment of legislation, timelines, capacity, compensation issues, management of expectations, how to ensure victim protection and participation, and the independence of investigations.

The Government plans to release the findings of its consultations on October 8. Minister of Internal Affairs and chief Government negotiator, Ruhakana Rugunda summarized the consultations to date: Ugandans wanted peace first and foremost; Ugandans were ready to forgive, but need some accountability; Ugandans have a preference for traditional mechanisms of justice; and Ugandans see merit in formal justice for the worst crimes. Rugunda stated that Ugandans emphasized the importance of a Ugandan process that leads to closure and do not want a repeat of the Charles Taylor scenario.

Although, positive steps have been made in the reconciliation process IDPs are skeptical about its success. Moreover, they contend that they have received poor education about the peace process and questioned the commitment of the parties involved. These findings were published on September 23 in an Oxfam sponsored report, "The Building Blocks of Sustainable Peace: The Views of Internally Displaced People in Northern Uganda." The survey was composed of 600 respondents and 91 focus group discussants from 11 IDP camps in the Acholi region. .

Minister Ruganda announced that the areas in the north affected by the LRA will reach the same level of development as the rest of Uganda in three years. He stated that the government is placing its northern Uganda recovery program on the fast track. Ruganda also, stated that the government will be allocating USD $3.8 million for the rehabilitation of West Nile communities affected by the LRA.

September 8 - 21, 2007

President Yoweri Museveni and Congolese President Joseph Kabila signed an agreement in Arusha, Tanzania on September 8 that established a 90-day timetable after which Congo would take action against Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Garamba National Park. The Congolese armed forces were working with the U.N. Mission in the Congo (MONUC) on training integrated brigades and plans to attack the "negative forces" in eastern Congo.

On September 13, the LRA's Juba spokesman Godfrey Ayoo declared that any attacks on LRA bases in eastern Congo would reignite the war in the north. Ayoo's comments were in response to the agreement that was signed in Arusha between President Museveni and Congolese President Joseph Kabila, and remarks made by Africa Bureau Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer on September 5. Ayoo asserted that the 90-day timetable in the Arusha agreement was hostile propaganda and violated the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and the spirit of the Juba peace talks. Ayoo threatened that "any attack on the LRA will be a declaration of war, and it will be a call on the Lord's Resistance Army to fight its way back to Uganda and should this peace process break, then the Lord's Resistance Army will fight until it overthrows the government of the Ugandan dictatorship that knows nothing else but war-mongery and war."

A Voice of America report quoted a response from Ugandan Minister of Defense Crispus Kiyonga. "The Government of Uganda remains fully committed to the peace process and talks in Juba, and it is our expectation that soon we should reach agreement with the LRA so that they can have a soft landing and return home," said Kiyonga. "The LRA is not in a position to overthrow the Government of Uganda. We are talking so that our brothers and sisters come back home and have a soft landing."

On September 8, Vincent Otti, LRA deputy took part in the Gulu-based Te-Yat radio program. Otti reiterated his concerns about the International Criminal Court (ICC). He also stated that he would not sign any peace agreement that would incriminate him and put him in jail. Otti declared that there were over 3,000 "bombs" in northern Uganda. He asserted that effective eradication of these weapons could be done only by the LRA. UPDF's northern spokesman, Lt. Chris Magezi, stated that the UPDF had recovered almost 300 different types of weapons and ordnances within villages.

USG Activities: AF Bureau Senior Advisor for Conflict Resolution Tim Shortley traveled in the region from September 5-17. He emphasized the importance of establishing a clear and reasonable timetable for the peace process, and looked at the administration of the mediation secretariat, and the launch of the Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan for northern Uganda.

Africa Bureau Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa James Swan served as the chief mediator of the U.S.-facilitated Tripartite Plus Commission, which met in Kampala from September 15-17. The process brings together Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda to discuss and coordinate dealing with negative forces operating against various member states, improvement and upgrading of diplomatic relations, and development of a common most wanted list and an extradition treaty.

August 25 -September 7, 2007

As part of his ongoing efforts to help advance the peace process, U.N. Special Envoy for LRA Affected Areas Joachim Chissano met with President Francis Bozize of the Central African Republic on August 24. Chissano then proceeded to Juba to consult with the Government of Southern Sudan mediator, Riek Machar. President Yoweri Museveni also met with Bozize on August 23 and reportedly received assurances that the LRA would not be allowed to use CAR territory for sanctuary.

On August 27, Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda announced that the GOU would be mobilizing 350 million USD for a reparations fund to help victims of the LRA. Funds were expected to come from donors. Rugunda said that the funds for the three-year project were aimed at the overall development of victims' communities. He emphasized that individuals would not receive payments.

During the Government of Uganda consultations in Gulu, Adjumani, Soroti and Lira, the desire for a truth commission was repeated many times. There was considerable support for the use of traditional mechanisms instead of formal justice. Northern residents in these districts stressed the importance of peace and reconciliation. Some residents favored punitive justice. A UNOCHA observer described the meetings as highly successful, well- structured, and actively involving participants. The national consultations will continue until the end of September.

According to a survey entitled "New Population Based Data on Attitudes about Peace and Justice," northerners indicate that health (45.2 percent), peace (44.1 percent), livelihood concerns - land, food, money, and education remain their top priorities. The survey of eight northern Ugandan districts was conducted by the University of California Berkeley's Human Rights Center which interviewed 2,875 northerners in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Oyam, Lira, Soroti, and Amuria from April to June 2007. Other key findings include: only three percent of the respondents mentioned justice as a priority, but 70 percent said it was important to hold accountable those who committed human rights violations. A majority (76 percent) said that pursuing trials prior to the conclusion of the peace talks would endanger the peace process.

USG Activities: Senator Russell Feingold visited Uganda from August 26-30. Feingold met with President Museveni, Minister of Defense, Government negotiators, parliamentarians, local elected and religious leaders and internally displaced persons. During a visit to Onangko IDP camp, residents expressed a strong desire to return home. Discussions centered on security reform, particularly deployment of civilian police, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of the LRA.

Africa Bureau Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer traveled to Uganda from September 4-5 and met with President Museveni and northern leaders. She was accompanied by Tim Shortley, Senior Advisor for Conflict Resolution, who remained behind to meet with GOU negotiators, donors, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and military officials. He traveled to Juba to meet with GOSS mediators and UN officials.

August 12 - August 24, 2007

The Government of Uganda held its first in a series of community consultations on accountability and reconciliation (Agenda Item 3 of the Juba peace process) in Gulu August 20 to 22. The consultation process is national and will culminate in a Kampala meeting to be held on September 26-27. The remaining community meetings will be held in Adjumani, Soroti, Lira, Mbale, Masaka, Mbarara, Masindi, and Arua. The Gulu consultation was attended by almost three hundred representatives from all levels of local government, civil society, traditional leaders, opinion leaders, religious leaders, women, youth, IDP camp leadership and other victims groups.

Initial feedback reinforces suggestions to use a combination of traditional systems and the formal legal system to achieve accountability and reconciliation. Neither will be satisfactory separately. There is popular support to amend Ugandan law to include a list of crimes stipulated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in order to try senior LRA in a way that satisfies the Rome Statute/ICC requirements nationally. There are concerns that amnesty and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) packages for the LRA may be seen as rewarding perpetrators, when the majority of the population in the north has been victimized by the war. Finally, there is a strong desire for a truth telling process that includes UPDF. Overall, the consultative process, as a national process, is being viewed positively, and the community appreciates the opportunity to have its voices heard.

July 29- August 11, 2007

The Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, intends to carry out 10 consultative meetings throughout Uganda between 20 August and 27 September 2007, culminating in a meeting of legal experts and institutions in Kampala to develop proposals for implementing the agreed principles on accountability and reconciliation.

July 15- July 28, 2007

The Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) want to extend the one month recess to provide more time for consultations with stakeholders. The LRA may request an additional month to undertake consultations. It has been waiting for Riek Machar, the southern Sudanese mediator, to approve its budget for consultations. The GOU also would like additional time, but is wary of too long of a delay.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission Commissioner Veronica Bichertero met with Vincent Otti on June 22 at Rikwangba to discuss the issue of women and children.

USG Activities: The agreement between the Government and the LRA sets out the principles for holding accountable those responsible for committing war crimes, and for achieving reconciliation. The GOU and the LRA plan to undertake consultations with stakeholders and legal experts on how to implement the agreement. The GOU has asked development partners to assist with this process while the LRA has submitted a proposal to the Riek Machar. USAID, in partnership with the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, has offered to provide support to the accountability and reconciliation consultations.

The GOU's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Amnesty Commission are planning four consultation conferences in Northern Uganda in Gulu, Adjumani, Lira, and Soroti. Consultations in the region are meant for hearing the "voices of the people" – these include district and local leaders, women, youth, children and other victims in the LRA affected districts. There will be a meeting in Kampala for consulting the formal justice system. The consultations are planned for early to mid-August and will also involve civil society organizations that have researched transitional justice concepts in the context of northern Uganda.

P/E Chief and USAID Peace Support Advisor met with Adam O'Brien from the International Crisis Group on July 25. O'Brien is preparing the ICG's next update on northern Uganda, which will be published in late August. O'Brien said that from ICG's perspective, the LRA delegation's demands at the peace negotiations do not match the security interests of LRA leaders Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, and the other two ICC indictees. In his view, the regional dimensions of the LRA issue need to be addressed, i.e. Khartoum's alleged support for the LRA and Congo's inaction against the LRA. He concluded that the LRA is using the talks to re-invent itself and to be available to destabilize southern Sudan, which has upcoming elections in 2009 and the referendum in 2011.

July 1-14, 2007

The negotiators are in recess until next month while the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) consult with stakeholders. Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruhakana Rugunda, publicly invited the LRA to join in on the consultations with stakeholders in northern Uganda. The GOU also plans to bring together Uganda's top lawyers to devise a concrete mechanism that addresses the needs for justice, accountability, and reconciliation. At the GOU's request, the USG and other donors are looking for ways to support the consultation process.

USG Activities: Ambassador Browning and USAID Director Margot Ellis traveled with a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer and an Armed Services Committee staffer to northern Uganda from July 4-6. During the visit, the staffers examined bilateral and military relations, the peace process, health and development issues, President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief (PEPFAR), counterterrorism and special operations efforts, and the establishment of the Africa Command (AFRICOM).

On June 19, USAID released a draft Statement of Work (SOW) titled, "Stability, Peace, and Reconciliation in Northern uGanda (SPRING). The issuance of the draft SOW was designed to get comments and suggestions from firms, organizations, experts in the subject matter, and other interested parties. SPRING's objective is to reduce current conflict, prevent the escalation of social, economic and political tensions and strengthen institutions for the promotion of peace and reconciliation. SPRING will support a set of activities in three basic areas: (1) Peace-building and reconciliation; (2) Economic security and social inclusion; and (3) Access to justice. The deadline for submission of written comments is July 13, 2007.

June 17-June 30, 2007

The Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) negotiators worked on justice, accountability, and reconciliation principles for the past weeks. Both sides presented position papers which the mediation team harmonized.

On June 29, the parties signed an agreement on the general principles for accountability and reconciliation. They have agreed that a national legal solution combined with traditional mechanisms of accountability and reconciliation would be developed. Formal courts and tribunals would adjudicate gross human rights violations. The agreement provided for truth-telling and truth-seeking processes. The GOU agreed to take the LRA off its terrorist list after a final peace deal is reached and disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation occurs. The more contentious issues not resolved included: the continued existence of the LRA after disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration and whether reconciliation will only be between the Acholi and LRA or nationwide between north and south. The talks were recessed for one month to allow the GOU and LRA to consult with stakeholders in northern Uganda before agreeing to a final position on justice and accountability.

USG Activities: P/E Chief met frequently with the parties, international observers, and technical advisors to the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) during two separate trips to Juba from June 19-22 and June 26-28.

June 3-16, 2007

U.N. Special Envoy Joaquim Chissano presided over the resumption of negotiations between the Government of Uganda and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on May 31. Chissano stated that "time was not in our favor." The LRA demanded the position of vice president of Uganda. The LRA also accused the GOU of unlawfully evicting people from their homes and forcing them into IPD camps, inhuman treatment, cattle theft, use of excessive force, mass killings, and rape. Discussions were heated over the announcement of the assembly routes by the UPDF-SPLA in early May. The GOU and LRA were able to work together and sign a document agreeing to a wider transit corridor and points for crossing the Nile River. All but a few small groups of LRA have crossed the Nile, according to the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT), and were in the vicinity of Rikwangba and Garamba National Park.

Workshops for the parties on various justice options began on June 1. Acholi traditional leader Rwot Acana presented a paper on traditional mechanisms for reconciliation and accountability. Barney Afako, a legal expert on the ICC, now serving as a technical advisor to the mediator, drafted a paper outlining the option of pursuing a national legal solution that could satisfy the International Criminal Court's standards.

On June 13, the parties agreed to guiding principles for the discussion on justice and accountability. Both sides agreed that "a national legal and institutional framework provides a sufficient basis for ensuring accountability and reconciliation in Uganda with respect to crimes and violations committed during the conflict." The parties also agreed to investigate the crimes committed during the conflict and to prosecute the culprits. Penalties would be determined by the gravity of the crimes and the need for reconciliation and rehabilitation of the offenders. The process would also offer special consideration for women and children and provides for alternative justice mechanisms and a truth and reconciliation commission. The GOU will enact legislation to allow for the implementation of the agreement.

Both parties violated provisions of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA). LRA fighters were collecting food from the assembly area and taking it back to Garamba. The SPLA and UPDF have kept up military pressure on the LRA in Eastern Equatoria. The LRA continues to raise food issues, but donors confirm that there were sufficient foodstuffs and water at Rikwangba. The CHMT was nearing full deployment with the arrival of the two South African observers and one observer from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). One more observer from the DRC would complete the team.

On June 3, Chissano announced that his mandate was extended through November and that he was opening offices in Kampala and Juba. Chissano stated that the U.N. Secretary General wanted him in the region to see through the implementation of an agreement.

The Acholi Parliamentary Group planned to release an accounting of the atrocities committed in northern Uganda from 1986 to 2006. On June 4, Reagan Okumu, the acting chairperson of the APG, said the compilation of information from local and international organizations indicated that from 1986-1991, the LRA was responsible for 17 percent of the atrocities and the GOU for 83 percent. From 1992-2006, the LRA committed 81 percent and the GOU nineteen percent. Okumu called for all sides to take responsibility for the atrocities committed.

May 18-June 2, 2007

Vincent Otti, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) second-in-command re-stated the rebel group's demand that the International Criminal Court (ICC) lift the warrants for the arrest of its top leaders before any disarmament and demobilization occurs. Otti made the remarks during a visit by Sky TV reporters, who spent three days with the LRA leadership at Garamba National Park. The footage aired on May 25. Otti stated that "we cannot go back to Uganda without lifting these indictments." Otti claimed that the GOU had the power to get the indictments dropped. He threatened that the LRA "has enough to capture power. We were seven, now we are thousands. Everybody in Uganda wants change, but they cannot do anything without the barrel of a gun." Otti also said that the LRA "can fight" if the indictments were not lifted.

On May 27, President Museveni condemned Otti's remarks as an assault on the peace process. On May 30, government negotiators said that remarks made by LRA's second-in-command, Vincent Otti, would not deter the GOU from achieving its goals at the negotiations. The GOU stated that its objectives were reaching an agreement that will bring lasting peace to Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan; ensuring that there is no impunity and there is justice for the victims; satisfying the traditional norms of the affected communities; and ensuring that the legitimate concerns and respect for international laws, including the ICC are adequately addressed.

The peace talks resumed on May 31. A workshop on accountability issues kicked off the meetings. Acholi traditional leader, Rwot Acana, presented a paper on traditional reconciliation and accountability mechanisms.

USG Activities: Political/Economic Chief attended a briefing by the Government of Uganda negotiating team on May 30.

Cynthia Brady, Conflict Specialist in USAID's Office of Conflict Mitigation and Management, visited Uganda from May 9-30 to help the Mission design a new, community-based peace and reconciliation activity for the conflict-affected areas of northern Uganda. Within the framework of the Government of Uganda's Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda and based on lessons learned from evaluations of the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative and the Community Resilience and Dialogue activity, the new program includes components for (1) peace-building and reconciliation, (2) economic security and social inclusion, and (3) access to justice. A solicitation is planned for later this summer.

May 1-May 17, 2007

Negotiations between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) resumed on April 26. Initial sessions were bogged down on the issue of allowances for the LRA delegates. The LRA requested face-to-face meetings with the GOU delegation to finalize agreement on Agenda Item Two: Comprehensive Solutions. After initially reviving demands for ministerial positions and control over development funds in northern Uganda, the LRA relented and agreed to sign a text that was a combination of provisions from the Ugandan Constitution and the Northern Uganda Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP). Other issues were deferred to an "implementing protocol."

The peace talks recessed on May 3 to allow the LRA delegates to travel to Rikwangba to consult with LRA leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. The resumption date for the talks has slipped from May 14 to May 31 to give the LRA more time to discuss the next agenda item, "justice and accountability."

USG Activities: Africa Bureau Deputy Assistant Secretary James Swan discussed the prospects for a peace agreement with GOU negotiators, parliamentarians, and military officials during his visit to Uganda from May 7-8. Government negotiators outlined a new approach on the issues of justice and accountability, which will focus on teaching the LRA leaders about their judicial options, rather than focus on traditional reconciliation mechanisms. The GOU expressed its satisfaction with the level of support from the U.S. for the peace process. Northern parliamentarians raised the issue of the LRA's designation on terrorist lists and the International Criminal Court indictments as impediments to the peace process. They expressed disappointment with the LRA delegation's delaying tactics at the talks, and expressed concerns about the marginalization of non-Acholi districts in terms of humanitarian assistance.

April 7-April 30, 2007

On April 15, U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joaquim Chissano briefed the diplomatic corps on the progress made in his meetings with the LRA. Chissano described a perceptible change during the April 13 and 14 meetings in the demeanor of the LRA leadership from his previous encounters with Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti in March. In the past, the LRA leaders and fighters were all dressed in combat fatigues. However, during these meetings the two leaders were dressed in matching suits and ties and other LRA members wore safari suits.

The GOU and LRA agreed to extend the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to June 30. LRA members in southern Sudan and northern Uganda would be allowed to cross the Nile River to assemble at Rikwangba. The GOU had offered to transport the LRA to the assembly area, but the LRA refused, preferring that its members travel on foot. Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and South Africa would each provide observers for the negotiations. The Democratic Republic of Congo did not send a representative with the team on this visit. Liaison officers would be posted to a town close to the assembly area to facilitate the movement of LRA fighters and communication between Rikwangba and Juba.

On April 25, the eve of the resumption of talks, LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti participated in a local radio talk show with UPDF spokesman Felix Kulayigye. Otti stated that the LRA delegates were in Juba for the talks. He demanded more financial facilitation and improved security for the delegation, designation of the safe corridors for the LRA in southern Sudan to assemble, and the lifting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants. Otti also stated that he believed that all LRA members were going to be indicted by the LRA.

USG Activities: Ambassador Browning and P/E Officer met with Walter Ochora, Resident District Commissioner for Gulu District on April 19. Ochora was traveling to the U.S. as part of the mass mobilization campaign being organized by Invisible Children to highlight the plight of displaced persons in northern Uganda. Ochora was part of the GOU team that met Kony and Otti on April 13 and 14.

On April 25, P/E Officer attended a briefing by the Government of Uganda delegation on the resumption of the peace talks. Government officials were optimistic that significant progress could be made on Agenda Item Three: Accountability and Reconciliation Mechanisms.

A representative of ConGen Juba attended the opening of the peace talks on April 26. Kampala-based diplomats also attended as a sign of support for the peace process. Chissano and Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir chaired the opening session and urged the parties to negotiate in good faith. Kiir stated that the "stability of Uganda and that of southern Sudan are inseparable." He expressed concern that the war zone shifted to southern Sudan and that the atrocities being committed by the LRA were discrediting the Government of South Sudan before the citizens of eastern and western Equatoria." The first session adjourned at approximately the same time an alleged LRA unit reportedly killed to civilians and injured a third at Kimoro Village in Magwi Country, Eastern Equatoria. Press reports indicate that the LRA demanded that the GOU remove it from international terrorists lists and written assurances of that the LRA delegation would receive facilitation, better security, and a framework for dealing with the ICC warrants during the opening of the peace talks.

March 24-April 6, 2007

Uganda's Minister for Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda announced that the peace talks would resume in Juba on April 13. A GOU team, which will include parliamentarians and local officials from northern Uganda, plans to travel to RiKwangba to meet with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti in advance on April 11-12, presumably in advance of the resumption of the talks. The composition of the GOU's delegation for the upcoming round of talks has changed. Two members, the Director of the Internal Security Organization and the Chief of Military Intelligence, have been withdrawn. Christine Aporu from the Amnesty Commission and Captain Barigye Kulayigye, a Uganda Peoples' Defense Forces Spokesman, will join the team.

March 10-23, 2007

Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda described the discussions between Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and United Nations Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joaquim Chissano on March 11 as "positive and constructive." Rugunda said that he anticipated another meeting between Kony, the GOU, and Government of South Sudan to work through the LRA's concerns about the Juba venue. Rugunda stated that the LRA did not demand a change in venue, but that its complaints about the mediation secretariat were technical and administrative in nature and could be remedied. On March 23, Rugunda announced the date for the resumption of formal talks at Juba would be April 13.

LRA spokesman Martin Ojul requested that President Museveni's half-brother, Salim Saleh, join the negotiating team. Rugunda stated that the LRA would not dictate the membership of the GOU team, but that Saleh would be available to play a behind-the-scenes role as appropriate. In December 2006, Kony had also requested Saleh's participation in the negotiations.

Thirteen major humanitarian organizations sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council expressing support for the mission of U.N. Special Envoy Chissano. The letter requested a Presidential Statement from the Security Council repeating its demand of 16 November 2006 that the LRA immediately release all women, children, and other non-combatants in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1612 (2005). Other requests include increasing the representation of women and community leaders in the decision-making process at Juba, and a call on the GOU to report on progress made to date on the Peace, Recovery, and Development Plan.

Chissano delivered his report to the U.N. Secretary General on March 22. He announced that the talks would resume in mid-April and that he was optimistic that a settlement could be reached between the parties. The U.N. Security Council issued a presidential statement reiterating its support for an expeditious negotiated settlement and that those responsible for serious human rights violation be brought to justice. The UNSC also urged the LRA to release women, children, and other non-combatants.

USG Activities: DCM Chritton and PolChief met with Human Rights Watch's (HRW) Director for the International Justice Program, Richard Dicker, and Elise Keppler, Counsel for the International Justice Program on March 15. Dicker and Keppler spent ten days in northern Uganda examining the prospects for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and justice for those LRA members indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Human Rights Watch supports a peaceful resolution of the conflict and is concerned that the "price" for a peace settlement is not the bargaining away of justice for the victims. Dicker and Keppler found that an ICC trial was appropriate, but not enough to address the horrific crimes committed. The team suggested a truth and reconciliation mechanism to allow victims to come together and give testimony as a way to heal communities.

Ambassador Browning attended a briefing by Acholi traditional leader David Rwot Acana on March 21. Acana discussed the outcome of the Acholi Conference held in Juba from March 2-4. He stated that he understood that the process of reconciliation must extend beyond Acholiland. Acana also stated that land problems were becoming a much more contentious issue. He bemoaned the fact that in the past, elders settled squabbles, but now other groups were staking out claims of their own. He said there would be more outreach to donors for help in addressing land issues.

February 27-March 9

There were various efforts to get the peace talks restarted at Juba. The Acholi Conference, held in Juba from March 2-4, brought together religious, political and business leaders; elders; women; youth; and professionals from the wider Acholi community to discuss ways in which to put the peace process back on track. The LRA did not attend the meeting which attracted some 150 participants. The meeting was organized by Acholi cultural leader Rwot Acana and funded by DANIDA and the Canadian Government. On February 27, President Museveni stated that the Ugandan military would not pursue the LRA if they did not try to re-enter Uganda. During a session on February 28, Parliament urged the Government and LRA rebels not to resume hostilities, but to restart the peace talks and reach a peaceful settlement quickly

UN Special Envoy Joaquim Chissano traveled in the region and met with LRA leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. Kony reportedly told Chissano that he was no longer interested in war and stated that the LRA would remain committed to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Kony said he would count on Chissano to address the issues that forced the LRA to quit the talks. Chissano also met with Sudanese President Omar Bashir, who clarified his statements on the LRA's presence in Sudan. According to Bashir, the LRA was welcome to attend negotiations but otherwise its presence in Sudanese territory would not be tolerated.

Chissano led a delegation to meet with Kony and Otti at Ri-Kwangba starting on March 10. Uganda's lead negotiator, Minister of Internal Affairs Rugunda, and Minister of State Henry Okello Oryem, Gulu District Chairman Norbert Mao and Gulu Resident District Commissioner Walter Ochora, and at least five Acholi religious, traditional, and elected leaders will participate in the meetings. The delegation spent one day with the LRA leadership to find a way to get the talks restarted. The LRA's complaints were largely technical and administrative demands regarding the mediation team, per diems, and personal security. Another meeting was planned between Kony, the GOU, and the GOSS in two weeks to determine the date for the resumption of the talks.

USG Activities: Olamide Abedalja, MONUC's new representative in Uganda, paid a courtesy call on Ambassador Browning on March 6.

Government mediator Ruhakana Ruganda expressed his appreciation for the U.S. Congressional resolution on northern Uganda.

On March 5, the Governments of South Sudan and Uganda signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding their support for "Conservation Landscapes for Peace" to be created along the shared border. Trans-boundary natural resource management, peace parks, and peace landscapes are conservation tools that can help maintain peace and alleviate tension over shared resources. This is particularly important as IDPs and refugees return home. USAID's Office of Transitional Initiatives funded the technical meetings in Juba and Kampala.

February 10-26, 2007

The Juba peace process and direct discussions between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) remain stalled. The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) is due to be reviewed on February 28. The GOU says it will not renew hostilities against the LRA. The LRA's second-in-command, Vincent Otti told AFP on February 24 that the LRA would not renew the agreement but also would not resume hostilities. Otti complained that the UPDF was attacking "my boys east of the Nile River and that from now on, we will defend ourselves." The UPDF, which is providing security in southern Sudan, maintains that the CHA designates areas for the LRA and any LRA outside those areas are "fair game".

Meanwhile, press reports indicate that Kony and Otti have left Garamba National Park and are at the border area of Central African Republic (CAR). Otti denies that the LRA have entered CAR. LRA spokesman Obonyo Olweny stated "there is no military gain in moving to CAR at the moment."

USG Activities: Ambassador Browning discussed the current situation in northern Uganda and options regarding the peace process with International Crisis Group (ICG) Director John Prendergast and former mediator, Betty Bigombe, on February 9. Prendergast and Bigombe shared the following impressions after a week in the north: (1) There was overwhelming support among IDPs for Kony and Otti to go into exile while the rank-and-file fighters take amnesty. (2) IDPs are losing hope that the LRA will agree to peace. (3) The LRA has been trying to mobilize past collaborators and previously rescued members to rebuild its ranks. (4) The LRA negotiators do not represent northern interests.

ICG fully understands the negative dynamics of the talks. However, ICG believes the value in keeping the talks going is the reduction in the level of the conflict. Prendergast was looking for ways to move the process forward and potential points of leverage over the LRA. ICG recommends direct engagement of Kony over a deal that provides him future security and a livelihood, perhaps third-country exile and a community-backed accountability mechanism. ICG believes that squeezing the LRA's financial backers, especially starting the process of closely scrutinizing members of the diaspora's ties to Kony and Otti, is the logical next step. In addition, Prendergast noted that an open and transparent planning process for a concerted military strike by Uganda, Congo, Southern Sudan, and MONUC could help alter the LRA's perceptions of its options.

January 27-February 9, 2007

The Juba negotiators have yet to resume because the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) refused to return to Juba. The LRA continues to insist on a venue change to Kenya or South Africa and the replacement of Sudanese mediator Riek Machar. In an effort to encourage the parties back to the negotiating table, the European diplomatic missions in Kampala called on the parties to resume the talks and find a long-term solution compatible with local community wishes, national laws, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The State Department's press statement released on February 1 raising concern that shifting the talks or replacing the mediator will prolong the suffering of the northern Uganda. The Kenyan Government issued a statement that it would not host the peace talks on February 4.

January 13-26, 2007

The Juba negotiators have yet to resume because the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) refused to return to southern Sudan and continue to insist on a venue change to Kenya or South Africa. The LRA also want Sudanese mediator Riek Machar replaced. Nonetheless, there were behind-the-scenes efforts to get the talks back on track. Uganda's lead negotiator, Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruhakana Rugunda, traveled to Juba on January 20 and told Machar that the GOU was opposed to a venue change and supported his mediation. On January 21, Riek Machar traveled to a location near LRA leader Joseph Kony's hide-out in the Democratic Republic of Congo to urge the LRA to return to the talks.

UN Special Envoy Joaquim Chissano discussed the fate of the peace talks with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir and Machar on January 15. Kony and Vincent Otti refused to meet with Chissano; LRA political wing members stated that the LRA leaders moved deeper into Garamba National Park.

December 23, 2006-January 12, 2007

The Juba Peace Talks were slated to resume on January 15. The GOU team was prepared to depart, but did not, for Juba despite statements by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation leader Martin Ojul, now in Nairobi, that there must be a venue-change to Kenya or South Africa. The LRA delegates claim that they were "abused" by Southern Sudanese mediator Riek Machar prior to their departure for the recess. Ojul claimed Machar was pressuring the LRA Juba delegation to sign off on Agenda Item 2 before Christmas and would not release per diems or travel for the delegates. The LRA's Juba delegation's problems with the second agenda item, "Comprehensive Solutions", included language in the preamble and guiding principles, and GOU resistance to establishing a trust fund for the north, federalism, and an autonomous implementing body. Both sides were to consult on Agenda Item 3, "Accountability Mechanisms", during the break but no consultations occurred.

On December 28 on a local radio show, LRA leader Joseph Kony described the Juba talks as a waste of time and stated that they needed to take place in Uganda. He also requested that the GOU send senior government officials to discuss peace, not just Acholi leaders. Museveni promised to send a team of ministers to meet with the LRA leadership. Kony and Otti publicly stated that they would rather stand trial in Uganda than The Hague because they would get a fair hearing at home.

Nonetheless, Gulu-based local government officials are continuing to reach out to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leadership. Plans for Acholi leaders to "camp out" at Owiny Kibul assembly area to encourage the LRA to assemble were cancelled after LRA leaders told them that LRA forces would not assemble there due to the presence of the UPDF. President Museveni offered the LRA 15 bulls for Christmas and 1.8 million Uganda shillings (approximately 1,000 USD) of airtime for their satellite telephones. The LRA rejected the bulls after they were told the meat was poisoned. The LRA reportedly failed to name a delegation to take a tour around Uganda. The Gulu-based group was planning another trip to Garamba in late January.

USG Activities: On January 13, Ambassador Browning attended a debrief by UN Special Envoy Joaquim Chissano, who met with Ugandan President Museveni on January 12 and traveled to Gulu before going to Sudan. Chissano stated that an exclusive focus on punitive measures delays peace and denies peace and justice to victims. Chissano said that he met the LRA's Juba delegates in Nairobi. Chissano told them that these talks were their one shot at peace and that continued stoppages of the talks "is the enemy of dialogue." He also told them that the international community will only recognize Juba as the venue for the talks.

December 9-22, 2006

The Juba Peace Talks resumed on December 14. The Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) signed a second addendum to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) on December 16. The agreement gives the LRA until the end of February to assemble, and requires the LRA to give the locations of its forces still in Uganda after the assembly. The agreement was made by the GOU and LRA delegations without utilizing the mediator, Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar, although Machar signed it. The GOU and LRA agreed to put their complaints about CHA violations in writing to the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team.

The Juba talks will reportedly recess from December 21 to January 15. The LRA team expressed interest in visiting the International Criminal Court during the break.

The GOU continued its confidence building measures with the LRA leadership at Garamba. The mother of LRA leader Joseph Kony, Nora Anek Oting, traveled to Garamba National Park from December 8 to 16. During her visit, Anek referred to Kony and President Museveni as "her sons" and urged them to talk directly to make a deal. Both she and Kony praised Museveni for taking care of her. Museveni had been providing Anek housing, security, and upkeep for the past 10-15 years.

In a related development, President Museveni spoke directly to LRA deputy Vincent Otti on December 10 via satellite telephone for 30 minutes. Gulu Resident District Commissioner Walter Ochora, who accompanied Anek to Garamba, called to brief Museveni on the first meeting between Kony and his mother. They reportedly discussed their commitments to the negotiations, withdrawal of the UPDF from near the assembly areas, and allowing more time for Kony with his mother. Otti said that Museveni agreed to pull Ugandan troops from areas east of the Nimule-Juba road while the LRA would withdraw from north of the Juba-Torit road.

November 25-December 8,2006

The Juba Peace Talks remain in recess while the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation and local Ugandan officials consult with the LRA leadership in Garamba National Park. The Sudanese Mediator, Riek Machar, had called parties to return on November 27, but the GOU and local northern officials said that they needed more time for confidence-building measures with the LRA leadership. Gulu-based leaders met with LRA leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. One of the officials, Gulu District Chairman Norbert Mao, stated that direct talks with the LRA leaders would give Kony and Otti accurate information. Preparations for Kony's mother to travel with the local leaders to see her son are still on, but bad weather has delayed the trip.

LRA fighters have yet to assemble at Ri-Kwangba and Owiny Ki-bul as required by the Cessation of Hostilities Addendum signed on November 1. The LRA, GOU, and mediator agreed that the LRA should assemble by December 1. The Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) said that both parties were in violation of the CHA. Clashes between the LRA and Ugandan military occurred outside designated no-hostilities zones. The report states that the Uganda military dropped a bomb near Owiny-Kibul.

The Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) undertook a two-week tour of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, and Amuru districts beginning November 23. The group discussed land, security, and return issues with local residents. The APG's findings included: opposition to "land-grabbing" while residents remained in camps; acceptance of investors who develop the land to benefit local populations and owners; and opposition to government camp decongestion policies. The APG failed to dissuade the Government from holding a seminar designed to sensitize Acholi traditional and religious leaders on land issues on December 4.

USG Activities: P/E officer met with Gulu District Chairman, Acholi parliamentarians, and Uganda's lead negotiator to discuss the next steps in the peace process. Ugandan officials and some journalists in close contact with the LRA leadership expressed optimism about the direct negotiating track with Kony and Otti.

A joint USAID Office of Transition Initiatives and Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance team traveled throughout the LRA-affected northern districts of Lira, Kitgum, Pader, and Gulu and held meetings in Kampala for the past two weeks. The team discussed the ongoing peace process with a wide range of local government and traditional leaders and internally-displaced persons (IDPs). Northerners dismissed Western notions of justice and placed emphasis on the importance of forgiveness, even though they also acknowledged the potential for tensions or revenge-seeking against some senior LRA leaders at a later date. Pader's district chairman told the team that the peace process had reached a "point of no return."

November 11-24, 2006

The Juba Peace Talks were in recess while the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation consulted with the LRA leadership in Garamba National Park. The Sudanese Mediator, Riek Machar, reportedly plans to restart the talks on November 27, but the GOU and local northern officials said that they needed more time. The GOU continued its confidence building measures through regular communication with and visits by northern government officials, lawyers with expertise on the International Criminal Court (ICC), and relatives of LRA leader Joseph Kony. Ugandan lawyers met with Kony between November 14 and 19 and explained the ICC process and options available to the GOU. The lawyers advised the LRA that its best option was to continue to pursue the peace process. U.N. Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland also urged Kony's deputy, Vincent Otti, to remain committed to the peace talks and comply with existing agreements.

LRA fighters have yet to assemble at Ri-Kwangba and Owiny Ki-bul as required by the Cessation of Hostilities Addendum signed on November 1. The LRA, GOU, and mediator agreed that the LRA should assemble by December 1. CARITAS is providing food and medical assistance for the LRA combatants in the assembly areas. Some LRA fighters have gone to the areas to request food, but their requests were denied because food was not allowed to leave the assembly areas, which would have been a violation of the CHA Addendum. The United Nations agreed to provide some logistical support, including a helicopter, to facilitate the movement of the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT). UNOCHA is preparing a camp at Nabanga, near Ri-Kwangba to facilitate meetings with the LRA leadership.

USG Activities: United Nations Special Envoy Joaquim Chissano met with several chiefs of mission on November 23. Chissano said that Ugandan President Museveni agreed to the Special Envoy during Chissano's visit to Kampala in August. The former Mozambican President stated that he had hesitated to take on the role because of his commitment to work on the situation in Congo and a commitment on East Timor. Chissano's terms of reference include: examining the underlying causes of the conflict, facilitating national dialogue and reconciliation to include justice issues, seeking ways to end hostilities, assisting the development of emergency plans, promoting coherence among regional actors, monitoring humanitarian efforts, assisting war-affected children, and reminding regional leaders of their obligation to execute the ICC warrants. According to Chissano, MONUC and UNAMIS would assist within their existing mandates.

On November 13, President Museveni ordered the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) to withdraw from bases at Magwi, Palutaka, and Tibaka in southern Sudan as part of an agreement with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir. The UPDF had occupied these bases since March 2002. During a visit to Belgium, Museveni told Prime Minister Guy on November 17 that Uganda would keep its promise of amnesty for the LRA. Museveni also said that peace talks should have a time limit.

Kony said, "The on-going peace process has opened many people's eyes. Those who used to criticize Museveni blindly that he is a bad man now have seen that he is good." Otti criticized LRA delegation member Josephine Apire for refusing to shake Museveni's hand during his visit to Juba in October. Otti said he would have shaken Museveni's hand. On November 17, Apire accused northern Ugandan leaders Walter Ochora and Norbert Mao of "undermining" the peace efforts through their confidence building measures.

On November 18, the GOU agreed to allow an LRA military team to tour northern Uganda as a "continuation of a confidence-building strategy." The four LRA commanders are Okware Odek, Obwoya, Awere, and Joyce Aling. They are expected in Uganda the week of November 25 and will participate with local military and elected leaders in public meetings.

USG Activities: On November 15, Ambassador Browning hosted the Government of Uganda negotiating team for an informal discussion with several other chiefs of mission. The GOU's lead negotiator, Internal Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, welcomed increased international involvement to include public statements of support for the peace process. He specifically requested that diplomatic missions pressure the African Union to name its representatives to the CHMT.

October 28-November 10, 2006

On November 1, the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) agreed to renew the August 26th Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CHA) with additional requirements. The parties retained the two assembly areas at Owiny-Ki-Bul and Ri-Kwangba. The LRA east of the Nile River, within southern Sudan, are required to assemble at Owiny-Ki-Bul within seven days. The Mediator will provide relevant information regarding the LRA assembly at Owiny-Ki-Bul within one week after completion of the assembly. The Mediator also is responsible for ensuring that LRA forces in Uganda relocate to Owiny-Ki-Bul. The Mediator will provide logistical and service support at Ri-Kwangba where the LRA will assemble its forces within two weeks.

An additional obligation for the LRA is that the LRA will not acquire, recover or replenish arms and ammunitions within its territory. The Mediator is required to assure the LRA does not rearm. There will be no resupply of food to the LRA outside assembly areas unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The Mediator will determine whether or not parties are engaging in hostile propaganda when complaints are raised. The GOU is prohibited from deploying within 15 kilometers of the perimeters of the assembly areas.

As a de facto extension of the times specified in the amendment, the Government of Uganda has set a December 1 deadline for the LRA to assemble as agreed. In two separate briefings, one for the press and the other for diplomats, Minister of State for Defense Ruth Nankabirwa stated that the Government was running our of patience and was considering "Plan B," a military operation against the LRA leadership.

The GOSS mediating team is making efforts to conclude the second agenda item at Juba, but the LRA has increased its demands to include a Ministry for LRA Affairs to oversee the post-conflict process. The GOU team rejected this. The talks will recess on November 10 to allow consultations for the Government and LRA teams with leaders in Kampala and Garamba National Park, respectively.

USG Activities: AF/E Deputy Director Deborah Malac traveled to Lira and consulted with northern Ugandan leaders, Amnesty Commission members, and military officials during a visit from October 28-November 2.

October 14-27, 2006

Wrangling over the violations of the Cessation of Hostilities has strained the Juba Peace Process and distracted the negotiators from the agenda items. The report of the CHMT indicated that the LRA was responsible for ten of eleven investigated violations. The GOU was cited for moving its forces too close to the Owiny-ki-Bul assembly area when it had escorted diplomats and journalists during an attempt to visit the site and the promised SPLA forces had failed to materialize.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni visited Juba to consult with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir and to meet with the GOU and LRA delegations on October 21. Several schedule changes meant only four LRA delegates were present. It was reported that two left the room in protest over Museveni's presence and the other two refused to shake his hand unless he apologized for killing northern Ugandans.

On October 24, the LRA requested another opportunity to assemble its forces at Ri-Kwangba, one of the two assembly points under the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement closer to the Congolese border. The GOU opposed this request because it claims the LRA was using assembly in order to regroup. Uganda's Chief of Defense Staff Aronda Nyakairima complained that "the LRA used the opportunity of the peace talks to re-organize and attack. There was no pressure on them at all."

The ICC released its report on the efforts to execute the warrants against four of the LRA's top leadership. The ICC found that the GOU had fulfilled its obligations regarding the warrants but that the governments of South Sudan and Congo had not responded to the ICC. The report also stated that DNA testing confirmed that one of the original five indictees, Raska Lukwiya, had been killed by the UPDF.

The GOU announced that it was sending three Kampala-based judges to Gulu for two months to clear a backlog of 221 cases beginning October 30. There has been no judge in Gulu since 2003.

USG Activities: Two USAID land tenure experts traveled to Gulu district on October 23 to meet with representatives of the National Forest Authority, Uganda Wildlife Authority, local officials, traditional and religious leaders and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in several camps, to assess the impact of the impending return of IDPs to their areas of origin on the environment and natural resources of Northern Uganda, as well as the potential for land issues to fuel future conflicts. The team will meet with national level stakeholders in Kampala next week and their findings and recommendations will be summarized in the next issue of the Northern Uganda Notes.

October 1-15, 2006

The Juba Peace Talks resumed on September 16. The Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team, consisting of two representatives each of the Government of South Sudan, Government of Uganda, and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) traveled to Owiny Kibul from October 1-4 to investigate claims by the UPDF that the LRA was not in the assembly area. In addition, the team was examining the LRA's claim that the UPDF was deployed in the area. As of October 13, the team's report had not yet been made public. At the talks, northern Ugandan leaders reported that during their public mobilization efforts, there was widespread support throughout the north for traditional reconciliation and compensation mechanisms to address issues of accountability for crimes committed. The leaders also demanded the release of some women and children from the LRA as a goodwill gesture.

There are signs that the GOSS mediator and some northern Ugandan leaders are increasingly impatient with the LRA's demands. Sudanese mediator Riek Machar was angered when the LRA asked for another delay in the talks and requested that more members be flown in from Nairobi and London. On October 3, Gulu District Chairman Norbert Mao and the ruling party's Sam Engola, from Lira, accused the LRA delegation of delaying tactics.

USG Activities: USAID's Northern Uganda Peace Initiative together with NGO Forum, Care International and other groups, organized Peace Caravans that departed from West Nile and Kitgum and came to Kampala for International Peace Day Celebrations on September 21, 2006. The Northern Peace Caravan had a stop in Luwero - one of the areas most affected by the conflict between Obote II and Museveni. The program in Luwero succeeded in meeting its objective of demonstrating the importance of reconciliation between people from the North and the South. The Northern Caravan was welcomed and both parties greeted each other with gestures of reconciliation. Guests from the North and people from Luwero came together in a joint Peace March, dancers performed and speeches were held as referred to in the newspaper article.

September 16-30, 2006

The Ugandan Government is growing impatient with what it terms delaying tactics on the part of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). When the talks resumed after a one-week recess on September 25, the GOU delegation raised these concerns with the Sudanese mediator, Riek Machar. The LRA asked for three months to assemble its forces, criticized the composition of the GOU delegation, and demanded the GOU pull its forces away from assembly areas. The GOU also does not want to discuss an agenda item regarding political issues, instead it wants to move forward with the final cease-fire arrangements. The LRA has also complained about the GOU's use of the words "surrender" and "soft landing," an indication of the differences in perception over the purpose of the negotiations. Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir met with both parties on September 28 in an attempt to resolve differences and to prevent the talks from faltering.

The Juba Peace talks are in recess for five days while the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation travels to Congo to consult with leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. The talks resume on September 18. Sudanese mediator Riek Machar and U.N. Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egland may also meet with Kony and Otti, according to press reports. One meeting attempt fell through, possibly due to logistics.

During a tour of the north, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said that he would go to Juba, if necessary, to move the talks along. Arrangements for LRA leader Vincent Otti to speak with Museveni on a live radio talk show failed due to weather interference with Otti's satellite telephone. Museveni also threatened LRA leaders to be serious and take advantage of this last chance or the Ugandan military will finish them off.

On September 15, the International Criminal Court requested a report on efforts to execute the warrants against the LRA leaders, which is due on October 6. The GOU has announced the formation of a legal team to work with the ICC "to put into practice the local traditional justice system that is proposed to replace the ICC indictments", according to Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhukana Rugunda. The Ugandan Ambassador to The Hague told the court on September 25 that the GOU has done everything it could to apprehend the LRA indictees, including killing Raska Lukwiya in August, and emphasized that executing the arrest warrants is a "collective responsibility." According to press reporting, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that, "if we do not execute the warrants, the crimes can start again."

September 1-15, 2006

The Government announced that progress on the ground has made the September 12 deadline for the talks to end irrelevant. President Museveni and Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir will consult to determine if another deadline is needed. The LRA set a September 19 deadline for its members to assemble.

The Juba Peace talks were in recess for five days while the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) delegation travels to Congo to consult with leaders Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. The talks resume on September 18. Sudanese mediator Riek Machar and U.N. Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egland may also meet with Kony and Otti, according to press reports. One meeting attempt fell through, possibly due to logistics. Egland told the press that "we have the best chance ever to end this war".

The assembly of LRA members near the assembly area of Owiny Ki-bul in Eastern Equatoria in southern Sudan is proceeding. The Government of Uganda announced safe corridors for the LRA in northern Uganda to move through to southern Sudan. On September 12, some 200 LRA combatants reported to local authorities in Pader. They were fed and shown the way to the assembly area; four other commanders and 140 LRA have reported to local officials in other parts of northern Uganda. The Cease-fire Monitoring Team is traveling to Congo to verify whether or not LRA from Garamba are assembling in Ri-Kwangba just across the Congo border in Western Equatoria.

LRA leaders Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, and Domenic Ongwem have all been heard giving messages to the LRA or participating in call-in shows on local radio in Gulu and other parts of northern and western Uganda (Bungoro). Kony and Otti stated that the International Criminal Court indictments must be removed. Otti said that he and Kony were near Ri-Kwangba, Congo and that the LRA members should be in the assembly areas by September 19. Otti also complained that Onwiny Ki-bul assembly area is mined and told fighters to assemble three to five kilometers outside the site. During a radio appearance, Ongwem told the host that he was "just following orders".

USG Activities: Ambassador and P/E officer attended a Government of Uganda debrief on the talks and two Core Group meetings in Kampala. USAID Conflict Mitigation team and the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative held meetings with Minister of Internal Affairs Rugunda to discuss conflict resolution, reconciliation, and peace-building options in northern Uganda.

August 19-31, 2006

On August 26, the Government of Uganda and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) agreed to a cessation of hostilities beginning August 29. Under the agreement, LRA members will be allowed three weeks for safe passage through northern Uganda and Congo to assembly sites in southern Sudan. LRA members from northern Uganda will assemble at Owiny Ki Bul in Eastern Equatoria State on the eastern side of the Nile River, and those in Congo will move to Ri-Kwangba in Western Equatoria State on the western side of the Nile. The Government of Southern Sudan will provide initial support to the LRA in assembly areas, but will request additional assistance from international donors.

Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir visited Ugandan President Museveni on August 12 to discuss conditions for a permanent cease-fire, which may result from the "cessation of hostilities".

The GOU has tasked northern parliamentarians and local leaders to mobilize stakeholders throughout the north to develop a reconciliation and justice mechanism that will be acceptable across Acholiland, Lango, and Teso.

At the Juba Peace Talks, the Sudanese mediation is harmonizing various texts presented by the parties. (Reftel) The LRA presented its cease-fire proposal, which called for the withdrawal of the Ugandan military from northern Uganda. The LRA submitted another paper with additional power and wealth-sharing demands, including a proposal that 30 percent of government positions go to northerners and easterners and that a multi-sectoral Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Commission be established. Formal discussions resume on August 31.

USG Activities: A multi-sectoral USAID team solicited feedback on USAID's proposed conflict mitigation strategy from national and local level government officials, non-government and international organizations, civil society groups, and other stakeholders in Gulu and Lira from August 16-18. Feedback was positive, but participants emphasized the importance of including local leaders early in planning projects in the north.

August 1-18, 2006

The southern Sudanese mediator and Government of Uganda are trying to bolster the LRA's field leadership's confidence in the Juba Peace Process. These efforts include visiting Kony's camp and transporting delegations of northern political, traditional, and religious leaders and family members to his hide-out in Garamba National Park.

On August 6, the LRA declared a unilateral cease-fire. The Ugandan Government said there were five LRA violations of its cease-fire from August 5 to August 12.

The Ugandan Government put forward the last of its position papers--the modalities for a cease-fire--on August 11 at Juba. The Government is calling for the disarmament of the LRA forces verified by a Cease-fire Monitoring Team, amnesty for all LRA, demobilization and reintegration into military and society. LRA fighters will go through the Acholi reconciliation process of Mato Oput. The arrest warrants of the indicted LRA leaders will be reviewed with the ICC after the peace talks, according to the paper.

The mediator declared a three-day period of mourning in the aftermath of the death of Raska Lukwiya, one of the five indicted LRA leaders. Talks resumed on August 18.

USG Activities: Training for traditional leaders participating in Juba Peace Talks through USAID-funded Northern Ugandan Peace Initiative; promotion of reconciliation between ex-LRA and local residents through joint cultivation/cooperatives ongoing supported by NUPI; Proposal submitted to send six northern Ugandans to the U.S. on an international visitors program to meet with policymakers and civil society.