'No-go' for rebel pardon

14th July 2006 at 01:00

The United States has opposed offering an amnesty to rebels who committed atrocities - including the enslavement of thousands of children - during the 19-year civil war in northern Uganda.

President Yoweri Museveni agreed to begin peace talks this week in neighbouring Sudan with the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group. If the talks go well, he promised that the leader, Joseph Kony, would not be arrested to face charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

"Those who have committed atrocities in this long-standing insurgency should be held accountable for their deeds," the US Embassy said in a statement.

Last July, the International Criminal Court, based in the Netherlands, issued arrest warrants for Kony and four of his lieutenants for crimes against humanity, including the killing of thousands of civilians and the enslavement of thousands of children, many of whom were forced to become child soldiers or sex slaves to rebel leaders. The court called on Congo, Sudan and Uganda to arrest the five.

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