New York Times Letter to the Editor by Jonathan Fanton: A Ugandan Peace
September 22, 2006 | Commentary | Human Rights

To the Editor:

“Uganda Peace Hinges on Brutality” (front page, Sept. 15) shines an important light on one of the world’s most brutal civil wars. There is now a ray of hope that the Lord’s Resistance Army will lay down its arms and cease hostilities, but Uganda has been here before.

Over the past 20 years, the erratic Joseph Kony and his top lieutenants have participated in off-again, on-again peace talks, but have always found a pretext for suspending them. Today the excuse is amnesty.

Your article does a disservice to the people of northern Uganda by suggesting most would prefer to forgive and forget if that would stop the fighting. In a survey of the Ugandan victims conducted last year by the Human Rights Center at the University of California, Berkeley, more than 75 percent said those responsible for abuses should be held accountable.

We should not forget that this new phase of the peace talks has happened as a result of the International Criminal Court’s indictments, not in spite of them. The warrants have put pressure on an already weakened L.R.A. If we are learning anything in northern Uganda, it is that the path of peace runs through the path of justice, reconciliation and rehabilitation.

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