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War crimes victims need speedy redress, Govt told

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th June 2015 12:18 PM

Victims of war crimes need speedy redress and therefore, Government should expedite the formulation of transitional justice policy.

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Victims of war crimes need speedy redress and therefore, Government should expedite the formulation of transitional justice policy.

By Francis Emorut                                                               

Victims of war crimes need speedy redress and therefore, Government should expedite the formulation of transitional justice policy.

This is contained in a research paper titled "On the path to vindicate victims' rights in Uganda: reflection on the transitional justice process since Juba."

The research paper was released by International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) in Kampala.

"The government's delay in implementing transitional justice measures creates among victims and civil society that it lacks interest in providing redress to victims," Micheal Otim, head of Office Uganda International Centre for Transitional Justice said.

He said the transitional justice policy is still pending and it requires considerable resources and political will to be pushed successfully through Cabinet and Parliament.


The head of Office Uganda programme for International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), Micheal Otim (centre) talks to participants during the release of a research paper in Kampala.

 "Victims continue to suffer the effects of serious violations, and many are in critical need of rehabilitation, counseling and material assistance, including with locating missing loved ones," Otim who was the lead researcher of the paper stated.

 "The government should urgently deliver reparations to these victims as an essential step towards helping them to reclaim their dignity and rights as citizens."

 Sarah Kasande Kihika, the associate of International Centre Transitional Justice called on government to urgently approve the draft transitional justice policy and begin implementing it without delay.

 She also urged government to focus on atrocities committed by both state and non-state actors and not only crimes committed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, and other insurgent groups.

 "We call on government to ensure that transitional justice measures address violations committed by both sides in the conflict – state and non-state actors," Kasande who was a co researcher said.

 The paper also calls for Uganda's Amnesty Act to be repealed or amended, to reinforce the Supreme Court ruling that excludes perpetrators of serious crimes, like war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, from receiving amnesty.

 "So far there has been no official transitional justice process that goes beyond talks and drafts. Passing the transitional justice policy without further delay would help to restore civic trust and show that the state takes seriously the violation of citizens' rights," Kasande said.

However, Racheal Odoi the technical advisor to Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) informed the audience that Government was committed to formulation of transitional justice policy and it was in its final stages.

 She was supported by Fiona Muhumuza an immigration officer in the ministry of internal affairs who said government officials were finalizing on the draft policy and it will be soon tabled to Cabinet for approval.

Lyandro Komakech, senior research and advocacy officer with Refugee Law Project called on government to share information with civil society on the progress made so far on transitional justice policy.

 

War crimes victims need speedy redress Govt told

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