Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has asked Uganda to pay U$322 million for damages caused by its troops during the Congo invasion between 1997 and 2003.
This reparation is part of the US$4.3 billion compensation that Congo is demanding from Uganda nearly half of $10 billion it demanded in 2005. Additional amount Congo is demanding is for looting its minerals, destroying environment, adverse impact on the economy and legal costs. When added the figure totals to US$4.3 billion
The figure is a drop from the US$10 billion that DRC had demanded from Uganda in 2005 when it won the case it had filed in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Hague-based International Court of Justice reopened the case with submissions from DRC. Speaking through an English translator, Jean-Paul Segeobe, one of the many lawyers who made submissions on behalf of Congo said that the country is demanding US$322 million from Uganda. He argued that DRC has met the threshold required for wartime reparation.
Uganda lawyers led by the Attorney General William Byaruhanga who is attending court sessions physically will make submissions on Wednesday. Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi soldiers helped DRC’s late Laurent Kabila ascend to power in 1997, overthrowing dictator Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga.
As Kabila settled in office, he disagreed with the foreign forces that helped him capture power. Consequentially, he asked them to leave. When Uganda and Rwanda declined to withdraw, Kabila sued Uganda at the ICJ for alleged invasion.
But Uganda argued that its military’s presence and activities in DRC were, for the most part, based on an invitation and were authorised by the Congolese administration.
Uganda lost the case. “By the conduct of its armed forces, which committed acts of killing, torture and other forms of inhumane treatment of the Congolese civilian population … [Uganda] violated its obligations under international human rights law,” the court ruled in 2005.
When Uganda lost the case in 2005, DRC’s lawyers argued for a reparation figure of US$10 billion which was awarded. However, the court asked the two parties to get together and come up with a figure that is agreeable to both because Uganda protested the claims.
The talks that have last more than a decade failed to yield positive results figure. That is why Congo asked the International Court of Justice to reopen the case. Uganda’s argument has been that Congo did not give evidence of how it arrived at the figure they were demanding for compensation.
Through the negotiation, neither Congo nor Uganda disclosed the amount that DRC was demanding or the amount Uganda was willing to pay.