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ConflictsDemocratic Republic of Congo

ICJ orders Uganda to pay $325 million in reparations to DRC

February 9, 2022

The International Court of Justice previously ordered Uganda to pay reparations to DR Congo, but this is the final decision on the exact amount the country has to pay for the effects of a brutal 1998-2003 war.

Congolese soldiers patrol the streets of Beni in the DRC
Armed conflict persists in the the eastern DRCImage: Jerome Delay/AP/picture alliance

The United Nations' top court on Wednesday ordered Uganda to pay over $325 million (€284 million) in reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling brings an end to Kinshasa's legal battle against Kampala that started over two decades ago.

It is a far cry from the $11 billion the DRC initially demanded from its neighbor for a brutal 1998-2003 war.

Reading out the court's verdict, Judge Joan E. Donoghue, the ICJ president, said reparations were compensatory and not meant to be punitive. 

The amount includes $225 million to be paid for "loss of life and other damages to persons'' that included rape, conscription of child soldiers and the displacement of up to 500,000 people.

The ICJ added another $40 million for damage to property and $60 million for damage to natural resources, including the plundering of gold, diamonds, timber and other goods by Ugandan forces orrebels they supported.

It ruled Uganda can pay the amount in installments of $65 million annually.

What is the history of the DRC-Uganda reparations case?

Congo first brought the case before the court in 1999.

In 2005 the ICJ ruled Uganda had to pay compensation for invading Congo in a war that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and displaced millions.

At its height, the conflict drew in nine African countries, with Uganda and Rwanda backing rebel forces against the government in Kinshasa.

UN fails to bring peace to DRC

The Hague-based court ordered the African neighbors to negotiate reparations, but they could not reach an agreement.

In 2015 the DRC took the case back to the ICJ for a final decision on the amount of compensation.

The DRC told the court it wanted more than $11 billion in reparations.

Uganda said it could ruin its economy. 

The ICJ rules in disputes between countries, and its decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

lo/sms (AFP, Reuters)