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The Status of Amnesty in Uganda

On May 18, 2012 the JLOS Leadership and Steering Committee met to deliberate on the future of the Amnesty law in anticipation of its expected expiry on May 24, 2012.The Chair of the Transitional Justice Working Group presented the findings of the amnesty review process, which the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) had undertaken since early 2012.

The Chair presented the various options for the future of the amnesty law and the final proposal for the way forward for consideration. The Attorney General presented his position on the matter after which the members discussed both proposals. After consideration of the various options, the final TJWG proposal and the AG position, it was decided by consensus that:

1. Part II of the law should be allowed to lapse by May 2012, as per the Amnesty (Amendment) Act, 2006 (Insertion of section 16);

2. Allow the Amnesty Commission to maintain its activities in the area of reintegration and support to reporters for an additional 12 months; and,

3. Expedite the adoption of the national transitional justice policy for Uganda, within 12 months, from May 2012; and,

4. Adopt a new law to take forward a truth-seeking process that complements traditional justice practices. The body can incorporate a conditional amnesty for lesser offenses in exchange for the truth; and

5. Establish a victim assistance program, especially for victims suffering from serious physical and mental injuries and illnesses.

This decision was communicated to the relevant Ministers for consideration. On May 23, 2012, the Cabinet of Ministers met and decided to extend the Act with the lapse of Part II of the law.

The Amnesty Commission will continue its reintegration activities with reporters for one additional year. The statutory instruments were subsequently signed, and gazetted on June 1, 2012.


By Edgar Kuhimbisa | Published: May 19, 2012