Question No. 56
Parliamentary Question – Dept Details
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps taken by him to assist the international endeavour to bring a person (details supplied) before the International Criminal Court; if he will raise the matter with the US authorities regarding their continued military support for this endeavour; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Michael Creed.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 21st March, 2012.
I am greatly concerned that Joseph Kony remains at large in Central Africa and has not been held to account for the atrocities which he and his so-called “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA) are reported to have committed over two decades in Northern Uganda and the wider region.
Recent publicity has raised international public awareness of the appalling violence carried out by this group over many years. In 2005,
the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Joseph Kony and other leaders of the LRA on 33 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. These are charges of the utmost gravity, and it is essential that Mr. Kony appear before the Court to answer them. We strongly support the work of the International Criminal Court in seeking to bring Mr. Kony and his collaborators to justice. Ireland, both directly and as a member of the European Union, provides ongoing support, including funding, for the Court and for its work. This year, our contribution towards the running costs of the Court will amount to some €800,000. Ireland has also made voluntary contributions to Trust Funds that support the work of the Court. Since 1995, €40 million has been provided from the EU budget to support the Court and related international criminal justice initiatives.
This month, the United Nations will convene a meeting in Uganda to finalise a comprehensive regional peacebuilding strategy which combats the activities of the LRA. The African Union has also announced a regional cooperation initiative and the US government is currently providing a number of military personnel to advise and assist national armies in the region to end the scourge of LRA violence, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. We are monitoring these initiatives closely, in cooperation with our EU partners and through our Embassy in Kampala.
Northern Uganda suffered more than any other area from the activities of the LRA in the years up to 2006, when the LRA left the area and moved into neighbouring countries. Ireland has been providing support to the people of the area for well over a decade. We have played an important role in coordinating the international donor response to the effects of war on the local population, particularly children, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have supported and facilitated peace talks and have ensured that the humanitarian situation in the region remains firmly on the international agenda. Between 2007 and 2010, Ireland provided over €4.4 million in humanitarian assistance for Uganda, most of which focused on the crisis in Northern Uganda.
Uganda is one of the priority countries for Ireland’s aid programme, where we have a commitment to the provision of long term strategic assistance. In 2007,
the Ugandan Government initiated a Peace, Recovery and Development Programme to coordinate all assistance for Northern Uganda, which now requires huge investment to ensure recovery from the disastrous effects of two decades of war. The Programme aims to provide additional resources for capital projects such as schools, clinics, water and sanitation facilities and roads. Through Irish Aid, we are strongly supporting the Programme and we have committed to providing some €22.5 million in funding for it over the years 2010 to 2014.