Justice and Post LRA War in Northern Uganda: ICC Versus Acholi Traditional Justice System


Guns have gone silent in northern Uganda after the LRA wars, but clouds of injustice are still thick in the air. Perpetrators of injustice have disappeared in thin air. Victims of atrocities languish in their villages with scars that will never be forgotten; lips cut, legs maimed, girls raped, children abducted and some left parent-less. The International Criminal Courts (ICC), an institution of justice in the world, has taken over the process of justice by demanding for the arrests of the leaders of the LRA. The Acholi elders and religious leaders have demanded for an alternative justice system. An investigation on how justice can be realized for these victims of war is needed. Can justice be delivered by the ICC that have left a range of other perpetrators unsuspected, or by the alternative justice system, proposed by the Acholi elders and religious leaders? Southwick (2005) calls this situation a dilemma for the ICC, while Ruaudel & Timpson (2005) describe it as “a forgotten and an unforgivable crisis”. This paper surveys what justice is and how best it can be realized in northern Uganda. The hypothesis is that, true justice can only be done when all perpetrators, without discrimination, account for their misdeeds; when justice becomes a process of healing: beginning with acknowledgment of guilt, compensation for guilt committed, reconciliation and restoration of relationships within affected communities. The paper proposes that the position taken by the Acholi elders and religious leaders be critically surveyed for relevance in the contemporary world.

Author Information
Wilfed Lajul, Makerere University, Uganda

Paper Information
Conference: ECERP2016
Stream: Philosophy - Philosophy and Peace Studies

This paper is part of the ECERP2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon