Uganda made the first payment of what will be a total of $325 million in reparations ordered by the International Court of Justice for crimes committed during its invasion of Democratic Republic of Congo more than two decades ago. The $65 million was sent Sept. 1, according to minutes from a Sept. 9 meeting of Congo’s council of ministers.
Jim Mugunga, a spokesman for Uganda’s Finance Ministry, said he couldn’t immediately comment on Congo’s assertion that the payment had been made.
The ICJ decision resolved a legal dispute that began in 1999 when Congo filed suit against Uganda for its occupation of part of the Central African country. The reparations cover $225 million for damage to people, $40 million for damage to property and $60 million for damage to natural resources, according to the court’s February ruling.
Read more: Uganda Must Pay Congo $325 Million in Reparations, ICJ Says Uganda and neighboring Rwanda invaded Congo in 1998 after the two countries fell out with its then-president, Laurent
Desire Kabila, who they’d previously supported in his rebellion against dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The war eventually engulfed several other African nations, left millions dead and sparked conflicts in eastern Congo that persist today despite an official end to the hostilities in 2003.
The money has been put in a transitional account with Congo’s justice ministry while the country creates a fund “for the compensation for victims of the illicit activities of Uganda” in Congo, according to the minutes from the ministers’ meeting.