The International Criminal Court Indictments In Uganda And The International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda: Lessons In Applying International Law and Justice Mechanisms
Muwonge, Joseph Max
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The LRA, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, has fought a twenty years’ war in northern Uganda, characterized by gross human rights violation, war crimes and crimes against humanity, against the government of Uganda. In Rwanda, close to one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred during the 1994 genocide. Many of those who survived today suffer from psychological and physical wounds as a result of the genocide. In Uganda, ICC issued arrest warrants for the top five LRA commanders in October 2005, while in Rwanda, ICTR was established in November 2004, and started its operations based in Arusha, Tanzania in 2005, to prosecute persons behind the genocide and others serious violations of humanitarian law. These cases reveal the growing momentum in the evolution of International Human Rights through providing human rights implementers and claimants more mechanisms to pursue justice and accountability. The application of International Human Rights Law of the 1998 Rome Statue of the ICC in Uganda, and the International Humanitarian Law of the ICTR in Rwanda has raised justice and accountability intervention impasse between international and local justice and accountability mechanisms. This study endeavored to draw key lessons from the analysis of the application of the ICC and ICTR mandates, as compared to the local justice mechanisms, in causing justice and accountability in the above Ugandan and Rwandan scenarios respectively. Both primary and secondary data sources were relied upon in compiling the findings of this study. Primary data was obtained from interviewees who were key informants, self administered questionnaire and focused group discussions in both Uganda and Rwanda. The study established that international justice and accountability mechanisms are insufficient in meeting the real demands and perception of justice and accountability for the victimized communities, especially in the African context. It recommends that the international community should encourage alternative and local forms of justice like the Gacaca court system in Rwanda and the Mato-oput system in Northern Uganda, to exist in cooperation, not competition, with the international justice mechanisms, perceived by many victims as being retributive.
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