Congo seeks over $4 billion in reparations from Uganda at World Court

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THE HAGUE, April 20 (Reuters) - Lawyers for the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday told the International Court of Justice that they are seeking $4.3 billion in reparations payments from neighbouring Uganda for its role in the conflicts in the country's mineral-rich Ituri province.

The U.N. court, known as the World Court, is holding hearings this week in the long-running dispute between Congo and Uganda over damages caused from 1998-2003.

Congo's representative before the court, Paul-Crispin Kakhozi Bin-Bulongo, told the judges that the damage done to his country by Uganda during the over five-year conflict in Ituri was of "incommensurate magnitude" and said Uganda had not negotiated in good faith during reparations talks.

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The case was first brought before the court in 1999 and in 2005 the ICJ ruled that Uganda had violated international law by occupying parts of Ituri with its own troops and supporting other armed groups in the area during the conflict. It also ruled that Congo had violated international law with an attack on the Ugandan embassy in Kinshasa.

The court ordered the African neighbours to negotiate mutual reparations but in 2015 Congo returned to the U.N. court saying the talks were not progressing. After setting up a commission of experts to help it assess damage amounts, the court is holding hearings on the issue this week.

Uganda will present its case and its reparation demands later in the week.

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Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg, editing by Ed Osmond

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