The International Court of Justice has ordered Uganda to pay the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) $325m in reparations over a brutal war between both countries that began in the late 1990s.
The order comes more than 15 years after the UN court ruled in a complex, 119-page judgement that fighting by Ugandan troops in DRC breached international law. The verdict ordered reparation to be paid but Uganda to date, never paid.
The sum awarded is well below the request for more than $11bn in damages demanded by the DRC for the occupation of its volatile northeastern Ituri region, amongst other grievances.
A Breakdown Of The Compensation Demand
The court broke down the compensation into groups. It assessed $225m for “loss of life and other damage to persons” that included rape, conscription of child soldiers and the displacement of up to 500,000 people. Another $40m was assessed for property damage and $60m for damage to natural resources, including the plundering of gold, diamonds, timber and other goods by Ugandan forces or rebels they supported.
Judge Donoghue, the presiding judge opined that there was insufficient evidence to support the DRC’s claim of 180,000 civilian deaths by Ugandan troops of which reparation should be claimed.
History Of Conflict Between Uganda and DRC
The conflict between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo can be dated back to the 1994 Rwandan genocide in which 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. An estimated 1.2 million Rwandan refugees flooded into the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, of which only 7% were perpetrators of the genocide hiding as refugees.
In 1996, Rwanda and Uganda invaded the eastern DRC to root out the remaining perpetrators of the genocide— often referred to as Interhamwe or FDLR (the Federation for the Liberation of Rwanda). The invasion by the joint army to the mineral-rich region of DRC set the stage for the Second Congo War which later involved 9 African countries and more than 20 armed militia groups. The Second Congo War is often referred to as “Africa’s World War” and is considered to be the deadliest global conflict since World War II. An estimated 5.4 million people were recorded as casualties of the deadly war.