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Kampala hosts regional transitional justice meet

By John Agaba

Added 17th May 2016 01:25 PM

The conference, gathering human rights activists, legislators, and civil society representatives from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, will also discuss "what's been effective so far" and the challenges they face in addressing legacies of atrocity and mass abuses.

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The conference, gathering human rights activists, legislators, and civil society representatives from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, will also discuss "what's been effective so far" and the challenges they face in addressing legacies of atrocity and mass abuses.

The 2016 International Center for transitional Justice (ICTJ) conference opened at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Tuesday focusing on redress and accountability for "serious human rights violations" committed in the African Great Lakes region.

The conference, gathering human rights activists, legislators, and civil society representatives from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, will also discuss "what's been effective so far" and the challenges they face in addressing legacies of atrocity and mass abuses.

ICTJ Program Director Mercie Mersky said: "The conference is organized to help activists in the region, mostly victims and civil society, to share their experiences and learn from each other.

"The goal is to contribute to their tireless efforts to advance victims' rights in countries where the lack of progress of state-led transitional justice mechanisms is the most common pattern," Mersky said delivering the conference's opening remarks.

In the 2000s, several countries in the region - including Burundi, DRC, Kenya, and Uganda - adopted comprehensive transitional justice plans to address legacies of violence and mass abuses that stretched back decades, and prevent conflicts from recurring.

But in the years that followed, the governments have done little to successfully implement these plans. Few victims have received redress and few perpetrators have been held accountable for crimes.

Rachael Musoke, a senior technical advisor at the Justice, Law and Order Sector in Uganda, said the country pledged to implement transitional justice mechanisms under the 2008 Juba peace agreement's Accountability and Reconciliation Protocol, a draft has been drawn and costed, but the country has failed to adopt a final policy to implement the pledges, leaving victims without redress.

"In facilitating these conversations, ICTJ hopes that groups can pursue concrete steps that eventually influence the transitional justice frameworks proposed in the countries," ICTJ's head of office in Uganda Michael Otim said.

The conference, organized in partnership with the Austrian Development Cooperation, will address the role of civil society in the absence of state-led transitional justice measures, documentation of human rights violations, and the pursuit of redress for sexual and gender-based violence and the national prosecution of international crimes.

 

 

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