Ugandan rebel leader Kony due to sign peace deal

Other News Materials 10 April 2008 16:58 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Elusive Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony was expected to arrive at a bush camp in south Sudan Thursday to sign a landmark peace deal that is meant to end 22 years of brutal war that killed tens of thousands in the north.

"As far as I'm concerned everything is going as planned," rebel chief negotiator David Nyekorach Matsanga told the BBC.

The head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels is due to sign the deal in Ri-Kwangba, a village nestled on the borders of Congo and Sudan while President Yoweri Museveni will sign his part on Tuesday at a ceremony attended by dignitaries and envoys in Juba, South Sudan.

The signing was set to take place last week but was delayed because Kony had not yet reached Ri-Kwangba and was reportedly ill with diarrhea.

The agreement sets out that Kony and his rebel commanders will be tried by a Ugandan court rather than by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague - a component that clinched the deal. The ICC indicted him in 2005 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

After the signing, Kony and his rebels will have a month to disarm but they have refused to do so until the ICC indictments are dropped.

The deal is vague on the release of the hundreds of children and women still believed to be in LRA captivity.

More than 2 million people were displaced during the war. Many still live in sprawling camps but the peace deal could prompt them to return home.