On December 19 2005 the International Court of Justice ruled that Uganda violated the principles of non-use of force in international relations and of non-intervention under international human rights law and international humanitarian law; and other obligations owed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Court sitting at The Hague decided that Uganda was under obligation to make reparation to her eastern troubled neighbor. The Court however did not determine the figure of the reparation and was to be exhausted between the two countries.
Uganda agreed to pay the reparation but the neighbor asked the literally unimaginable USD 5bn by the time the former was still surviving on annual budget of less than USD 3bn and largely funded by donors.
Uganda did not disagree but opted to negotiate with DRC on reducing the figure and ensuring a favorable time frame. The negotiation between the two nations was being mediated by a neighboring country yet to be established.
According to the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire the dialogue collapsed and the case is back to court.
The ICJ had ruled that if the two countries fail to agree on reparation the matter can be returned to her jurisdiction.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee of Legal Affairs on Tuesday, Otafiire said the government is interested in settling the matter out of court but things are not easy.
“The government I committed to solving the matter out of Court but the latest is that we hit an impasse and we have referred the matter back to court,” he said.
Otafiire stressed that the figure being demanded by the DRC was not decided by the court and neither agreed by Uganda.
“The amount you people hear about is not from court or agreed by Uganda. That is the amount Congo (DRC) wants and we were negotiating it.”
Some of the UPDF officers were accused by DRC of plundering her resources an allegation that was upheld by the ICJ.
“The court found that the Republic of Uganda, by acts of looting, plundering and exploitation of Congolese natural resources committed by members of the Ugandan armed forces in the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and by its failure to comply with its obligations as an occupying Power in Ituri district to prevent acts of looting, plundering and exploitation of Congolese natural resources, violated obligations owed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo under international law.”
The DRC was found under obligation to pay reparation to Uganda for violating the 1961 Vienna Convention when her forces ransacked Ugandan embassy in Kinshasa and manhandled the diplomats.
The fleeing Ugandan diplomats were also followed up to the airport and equally mistreated.
“The Court found that the Democratic Republic of the Congo, by the conduct of its armed forces, which attacked the Ugandan Embassy in Kinshasa, maltreated Ugandan diplomats and other individuals on the Embassy premises, maltreated Ugandan diplomats at Ndjili International Airport, as well as by its failure to provide the Ugandan Embassy and Ugandan diplomats with effective protection and by its failure to prevent archives and Ugandan property from being seized from the premises of the Ugandan Embassy, violated obligations owed to the Republic of Uganda under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.”
Uganda in her defense during the court process said she entered the eastern DRC in self-defense to neutralize negative forces that were attacking the country from there.