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SPECIAL REPORT: The National Transitional Justice Policy

Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier turned senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), at the International Criminal Court (Source: ICC) Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier turned senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), at the International Criminal Court (Source: ICC)

 

The National Transitional Justice Policy is an overreaching framework of the Government of Uganda (GoU); designed to address justice, accountability and reconciliation needs of post-conflict Uganda.  The Policy, provides a holistic intervention to achieving lasting peace in a country whose history has until recently, been marred by political and constitutional instability.  A combination of justice mechanisms is proposed in the Policy. 

It, therefore, marks a major milestone in the history of the administration of justice in Uganda as well as Africa, Uganda being the first country to adopt a Transitional Justice Policy, after the African Union’s (AU) adoption of an AU Transitional Justice Policy

The Constitutive Act of the African Union 2000, recognizes the fact that the scourge of conflicts in Africa constitutes a major impediment to the socio-economic development of the continent and the need to promote peace, security and stability. 

Transitional Justice is a range of processes and mechanisms associated with society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large – scale past abuses and human rights violations in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation. 

Transitional Justice consists of both judicial and non-judicial processes and mechanisms including prosecution initiatives, truth-seeking, reparations programmes, institutional reform or an appropriate combination thereof. 

The development of a National Policy on Transitional Justice is an affirmation of the Government of Uganda’s commitment to national reconciliation, peace and justice. It reflects the Government of Uganda’s core objectives of ending impunity and promoting justice and reconciliation as a necessary precursor to sustainable development. It recognizes that Ugandans aspire to live peacefully with citizens of other countries and in harmony within their social, cultural and ethnic diversity. 

The Government has over the years reiterated the need for peace, stability and social cohesion as important prerequisites for the development of the country.  

The Transitional Justice Policy implementation will, therefore, set a base for economic development and inclusion of all Ugandans in national development.

This policy will serve as an overarching framework that will address justice, accountability and reconciliation needs of post-conflict situations.  It will create a holistic intervention in achieving lasting peace and stability.

 

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By Margaret Ajok |  Published: July 3 2019