n African Human Rights Law Journal - The application of traditional justice mechanisms to the atrocities committed by child soldiers in Uganda : a practical restorative justice approach

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



Some communities affected by the conflict in Uganda have selectivelyadopted traditional cleansing rituals to reintegrate former child soldiers.Furthermore, there appears to be support amongst communities for theholistic adoption of traditional justice mechanisms for the atrocitiescommitted by child soldiers. However, these processes need to be modifiedprior to their adoption in order to address various practicality dilemmassuch as the nature and extent of atrocities committed, the proportionalityof punishments to the crimes committed, and the identification of parties.This article therefore proposes that such modifications should primarily bedrawn from practical restorative approaches embodied within the criminaljustice system, and relevant examples from selected countries. This couldenhance the application of traditional justice mechanisms to the crimescommitted by child soldiers. The article is timely considering that Ugandais currently developing a comprehensive national policy on transitionaljustice, which will entail a policy on traditional justice mechanisms.

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