Uganda says it is “unfair and wrong” that the International Court of Justice, ICJ, wants it to pay $325m, £240m, in reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo for invading and Ituri province between 1998 and 2003.
The UN court found that Uganda had failed in its duty to prevent acts that violated international law, including the killing of civilians, rape and the recruitment of child soldiers.
It ordered Uganda to pay five annual instalments of $65m between 2022 and 2026, with the first instalment due in September.
DR Congo had demanded $11bn but the judges dismissed several parts of the claim.
“While the amount awarded is far less than that sought… Uganda nevertheless considers the judgment unfair and wrong, just as the previous 2005 judgement on liability was unfair and wrong.
” Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“For the record, Uganda disputes and rejects the findings of wrongdoing by the Uganda Peoples Defence Force, UPDF, widely known as one of the most disciplined forces in the world,” the statement added.
Earlier, Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka questioned why Ugandan soldiers were singled out for wrongdoing despite the court’s acknowledgement that other armed groups were active in eastern DR Congo.
The conflict that kicked off in the DR Congo in the late 1990s became known as “Africa’s first world war” as drew in nine African nations and many armed groups.
Kiwanuka described the court’s decision as another failure to appreciate African matters and said that it did not help in continuing efforts to resolve security issues that persist in the region.
Ugandan forces are currently in the eastern DR Congo, this time with the approval of Kinshasa, to fight against Islamic State-linked rebels, the Allied Democratic Forces, ADF.
The Ugandan government is also part financing the ongoing construction of a 200km, 125-mile, road to boost trade between the two countries.
BBC /Shakirat Sadiq
UN Court’s $325m Reparations Ruling ‘Unfair’