International Court of Justice orders Uganda to pay the DRC $325m in reparations for loss of life, rape

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has awarded the Democratic Republic of Congo $325 million for damages it suffered at the hands of Ugandan forces in its territory between 1998 and 2003.
The war reparations is just a fraction of the $11 billion demanded by Kinshasa over the brutal war two decades ago.
ICJ chief judge Joan Donoghue said DRC failed to provide evidence of the extent of the damage, leaving the UN court to rely on reports by panels of experts and the United Nations.
The reports, the judge said, proved that Ugandan troops had occupied Ituri Province, in eastern DR Congo, causing loss of lives, injuries to persons, displacement of communities, damage to property, and plunder of gold, diamonds, coltan, timber and coffee.
The ICJ ordered Uganda to pay $225 for the fatalities, displacements and injuries to persons.
For plunder of resources and damage to property, the court awarded $60 million and $40 million, respectively.
Uganda will pay the penalty in four-year instalments of $65 million every September, failure to which the fine will attract a six percent interest annually, the court ruled.
In 2005 the ICJ ruled that Uganda had to pay reparations to its vast central African neighbour for invading it in a five-year war that left hundreds of thousands of people dead.
Kinshasa is now claiming more than $11 billion for the occupation of its volatile northeastern Ituri region.

At the same time however, the Hague-based court also said in 2005 that Uganda should be compensated after its embassy in Kinshasa was attacked and its diplomats abused.
Negotiations on an amount drew to a stalemate and in 2015 Kinshasa asked for the case to go back before the judges.
Following further postponements to find a solution, the ICJ also heard four independent experts to advise it on a possible amount.
Last year Kinshasa’s agents were back in court however accusing Kampala “of serious breaches of human rights verging on barbarity”.
They said Kampala needed to “fully assume its responsibility for the injury caused… and a substantial contribution”.
Uganda’s representatives rejected what they called “staggering” demands for the claim, saying the sum claimed was “disproportionate and economically ruinous.”
“It essentially seeks to make Uganda responsible for everything that happened in the conflict,” Uganda’s Attorney General William Byaruhanga told the court.

At its height, the conflict drew in nine African countries, with Uganda and Rwanda backing rebel forces against the Kinshasa government as they jostled for control of the mineral-rich Ituri region.
Currently Congolese and Ugandan troops are back in the region, but this time in an unprecedented offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces, the region’s deadliest militia, which the Islamic State group calls its affiliate.
In the latest suspected ADF rebel attack, three people were killed on Saturday in the Beni territory in the neighbouring North Kivu province.

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Late last year Ugandan and Congolese troops launched the combined offensive against the ADF despite complicated relationships between the two neighbours.
Founded after World War II, the ICJ in The Hague rules in disputes between countries, mainly based on treaties.
Its decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

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