n African Human Rights Law Journal - A truth commission for Uganda? Opportunities and challenges




The article addresses challenges and opportunities that a truth-telling process presents to Uganda after the two-decade-long conflict between the Lord's Resistance Army and the national army. The article specifically analyses the appropriate features of legislation regarding a truth-telling process that it argues account for its success. It makes reference to the National Reconciliation Bill, 2009, drafted by civil society groups in Uganda, which is the only comprehensive document relating to a possible truth-telling process in Uganda. The article argues that a truth-telling process will give Uganda an opportunity to confront its past, official denials and imposed silences, and will provide victims with public validation of their suffering and make unquestionable the state's obligation to provide integral reparations. The article, however, questions the extent to which individuals with state authority and state institutions will allow a truth-telling process to exercise its powers and publicly question their conduct with a looming threat of prosecutions. The article further questions whether the National Resistance Movement government will accept that its rule has been tarnished by decades of conflict and that state institutions are in need of reform, or whether it will set its sights on justifying policies, hiding complicity and rejecting blame. The article concludes that a political will and commitment are essential to ensure adequate investment in technical, material and financial resources and that non-interference of the government in the work of the Truth Commission will ensure success. It further finds that with such political will and commitment, and robust consultation with stakeholders, including victim groups, and the creation of alliances locally, nationally, regionally and internationally, a truth-telling process will lead to justice, truth, reparations, reintegration and reconciliation in Uganda.


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