Seeking Peace and Seeking Justice: The ICC and Uganda

Over the last two decades, Uganda has been embroiled in a violent conflict between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has claimed to fight on behalf of the Acholi people, an ethnic group living primarily in northern Uganda who have been the targets of discrimination and government neglect. Abducting young Acholi boys and girls to use as child soldiers has been one of the LRA’s strategies in fighting the Ugandan military. Unable to defeat the LRA and protect the civilian population, the government of Uganda has been looking for ways to achieve peace. One of the government's strategies has been to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate LRA abuses, in the hopes that high-ranking LRA leaders might be arrested. In 2005, after extensive investigation of both the government and the LRA, the ICC issued arrest warrants for five LRA leaders. While the ICC acknowledged that the government of Uganda also committed crimes, these occurred before 2002, placing them outside of the court’s temporal jurisdiction. (To learn more about the civil war in northern Uganda, see the Uganda page on the Enough Project’s website).

The 16-minute film module, Seeking Peace and Seeking Justice: The ICC and Uganda (below) explores how the ICC’s involvement in Uganda has sparked conversation and action throughout Ugandan society. For example, in the bush, LRA leaders have used the arrest warrants as a bargaining chip in peace negotiations; in displaced persons’ camps, Ugandans are debating the merits of the ICC versus traditional justice mechanisms; at a national level, the government of Uganda is restructuring its own judicial system.

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