Uganda pays first war reparations payment to DR Congo

The Ugandan government has made a first payment of $65 million (64.2 million euros) in war reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo, part of the total $325 million (321.1 million euros) pledged.

The figure has been imposed by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s highest judicial body for settling disputes between states. The court condemned Uganda for crimes perpetrated on Congolese soil during the Second Congo War (1998-2003).

The first payment was made on September 1, according to the minutes of the Congolese Council of Ministers meeting on September 9, reports Bloomberg news agency.

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These funds would have been transferred to a transitional account related to the Congolese Ministry of Justice. DRC will create a fund “for compensation to victims of Uganda’s illegal activities” on Congolese soil, according to the minutes.

A spokesman for the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, Jim Mugunga, explained that he could not comment at this time on the status of the payment or confirm its payment.

The ICJ decision stems from the complaint filed in 1999 against UGanda for the occupation of the eastern part of the country. The war reparations include $225 million for personal injury, $40 million for property damage and $60 million for damage to natural resources, according to the ruling last February.

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Some 5.4 million people died as a result of the Second Congo War, most of them from starvation and disease. It was the largest conflict in the history of the African continent, involving up to nine states as well as numerous irregular forces, and lasted from 1998 to 2003, when the Pretoria Accords were signed. However, several armed rebel groups are still active in eastern DRC, in confrontation with the Congolese Armed Forces.

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