An International Court of Justice ruling ordering Uganda to pay the Democratic Republic of Congo $325 million in reparations for its role in the conflict in Congo’s resource-rich Ituri province has been branded unfair and wrong by Uganda.
In its ruling Wednesday, the court said Uganda must pay the money in five annual payments of $65 million, starting in September.
The total award was much lower than Congo’s demand for over $11 billion. Additionally, the court rejected several claims, including compensation for macroeconomic damages because Uganda’s actions were not clearly linked to alleged economic damage.
According to a statement by Uganda’s foreign ministry, “even though the amount awarded is far less than that sought by the DRC, Uganda considers the judgment unfair and wrong, just as the previous 2005 judgment on liability was unfair and wrong.”
In 1999, the long-running dispute was first brought before the Supreme Court of the United Nations. The ICJ’s rulings, which deal with disputes between states, are final and cannot be appealed.
During a conflict that raged from 1998 to 2003, Uganda occupied the province of Ituri in the eastern Congo with its own troops and supplied weapons to other armed groups. In 2005, the ICJ ruled that Uganda had violated international law.
According to Uganda, its troops entered Ituri at the invitation of Congo. In 2005, the court dismissed the argument and said Uganda was an occupying power in the province.
Both countries were ordered to negotiate reparations by the court, but in 2015 Congo returned to the tribunal, saying the talks had not progressed.
The ministry said in its statement that Uganda rejects any findings of wrongdoing against its army and regretted the ruling had come at a time when the two countries were trying to mend their ties.
“Uganda continues to discuss the matter with the DRC government for purposes of securing a lasting and mutually acceptable solution,” it said, calling the judgment “an undue interference in this process and in African affairs generally”.
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