Lawyer urges DRC to claim $10 billion from Uganda in compensation

October 20, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Darell Maurice

Three months prior to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) trial against Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) “should not be distracted,  but rather prepare its evidence”, advised lawyer Fidèle Zegbe last week. According to him, the country would have to file before January 6, 2016 to justify the 10 billion dollars they are to claim in compensation from Uganda.

Fidèle Zegbe believes the Congolese government should in any case be armed with arguments that could enable them to obtain compensation for damages, all of which requires the filing of before early January. “It is hoped that the Congo will not exceed that period [for filing its exhibits]. It is not serious. It’s still in our interest to get the ten billion. It must be said that our current budget does not even reach ten billion. The Congolese expect this repair, those in Kisangani, Ituri,etc. The Congolese government expects that money,” Zegbe stated.

Kinshasa and Kampala have not in fact reached an amicable settlement of their financial dispute. After on December 19, 2005 condemning Uganda for its “invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1998, in violation of international law and humanitarian law” in Ituri, the ICJ had allowed the two countries to amicably agree the amount of compensation. But it reserved the right to decide the question itself in case of a disagreement between the two parties.

Unfortunately, the DRC is still not in possession of the files, which are held by Mr Tshibangu Kalala, the DRC lawyer in the case. This requires the payment of his salary, before making them. He has been held since 29 September in Makala prison for “unlawful retention of documents and breach of trust.”

However, noted Fidèle Zegbe, “regardless of the imbroglio taround the arrest of the gentleman in question, the Government of the Republic is aware of this and that in a few months, it must file all documentation necessary to prove that we are indeed entitled to this amount.”

“The expected amount from Uganda”, he said, “could help the Democratic Republic of Congo in particular to deal with the elections of next year.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darell Maurice

Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv. He also blogs here.

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