Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

International Justice/ICC: Apr '08

Reporters reveal how the LRA has been bolstering its ranks while negotiating a final peace deal.

April saw a substantial increase in IWPR’s international justice reporting from The Hague and Africa.

The growing network of IWPR-trained journalists in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda broke a number of important stories on International Criminal Court-related developments in these regions.

Reporting on a situation that affects both the DRC and Uganda, IWPR revealed that while the Lord’s Resistance Army negotiated a peace deal in South Sudan, it set out to recruit reinforcements.

The piece, LRA Prepares for War, not Peace, tapped a wide range of sources to reveal what many in the international community had known, but had refused to discuss.

The LRA has kidnapped hundreds of people from the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the DRC, using them to loot supplies, but also to be trained as soldiers for what may be a new regional war.

The story came two weeks before the rebel leader Joseph Kony failed for the second time in two months to sign a peace deal that has been negotiated for the past two years.

The story also preceded calls for much more action by the international community to cut off Kony and capture and contain his militia.

Working with trainee reporters in the DRC, IWPR journalist Lisa Clifford noted that Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda now faces a serious dilemma since his chief of staff, Bosco Ntaganda, has been indicted by the ICC.

Nkunda has long insisted that he commands a militia that works for peace in the troubled region and is only protecting his fellow ethnic Tutsis from attacks by rival Hutu militias there.

Whether Nkunda will cooperate with the international court to hand over Ntaganda, remains to be seen and will indicate Nkunda’s true intentions.

Other notable stories by IWPR-trained reporters in the DRC included a piece by Sara Nsimire from Goma on the overhaul of the region’s biggest prison, which IWPR reported earlier as being one of the worst in the world; while Jacques Kahorha also from Goma wrote about how the ethnic Hutu militias won’t return to their homes in Rwanda because they fear revenge.

In Uganda, significant IWPR stories included a piece by Emma Mutaizibwa about the murky dealing of those negotiating a peace deal on behalf of the rebel LRA, and Columbus Onoo, in Gulu, reported on how refugees in northern Uganda fear returning to their villages because a permanent peace with the Ugandan rebels has yet to be signed.


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