Peace in Northern Uganda-Decisive Weeks Ahead
The eighteen-year insurgency in Northern Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) -- whose extreme brutality has displaced 1.6 million people and sparked an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) -- may finally be amenable to resolution. But if peace is to be achievable in 2005, the next few weeks will be decisive. The Ugandan government will need to make a concerted effort to ensure that the peace process moves forward apace by extending by a further month its unilateral ceasefire expiring on 22 February 2005. The LRA, which was shocked by the surrender of its chief negotiator on 16 February, must demonstrate quickly that it wants a peaceful resolution of the conflict by negotiating seriously in order to conclude a definitive ceasefire. Without this additional effort on both sides as well as increased international support, the promising process could crumble, resulting in more fighting and a renewed effort by the government to win the war by purely military means.