n African Security Review - The challenge and meaning of justice in northern Uganda : essay

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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Even though the peace talks in northern Uganda have faltered, attempts at negotiations between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord 's Resistance Army are continuing. The current rapprochement between the two sides is the most significant move towards peace in the twenty-year civil war in northern Uganda. Even though the war has been extreme in its brutality, it is little known of outside the region - with reports on the conflict often portraying a protective government pitted against a crazed rebel group. But the issues are much more complex. The article examines the history of abuses and atrocities committed by both sides; the wider implications of the conflict for the north; why the rest of Uganda are seemingly disinterested in the conflict; and the politics behind why northern civil society have little trust in the Ugandan government or the International Criminal Court (ICC). The current prospect of peace has also stirred up the debate around justice and the forms of justice for victims of both rebel and government atrocities. And this is where the biggest cleft between the northern civil society and officialdom (government and international NGOs) resides. The article further examines the implications of the ICC's work in Uganda, and why there has been such widespread hostility towards it from northern civil society. The article also asks if - beyond the end of fighting and terror - peace will really mean that northern Uganda can finally partake in the prosperity the rest of the country has almost taken for granted.

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