Accepted Paper:

Healing, risk and justice in northern Uganda  
Tim Allen (LSE)

Paper short abstract:

The intervention of the International Criminal Court into African war zones raises crucial issues about what human security and justice means, both from a global and a local perspective. Ending impunity for the worst of crimes implies the imposition of a universal right to punish. The paper comments on such issues in relation to northern Uganda.

Paper long abstract:

Over 1.5 million people in northern Uganda live in displacement camps in appalling conditions. They are kept there ostensibly for their own protection by the Uganda army, and are fed by humanitarian aid agencies. The atrocities that have been perpetrated by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the region have been the focus of investigations by the newly created International Criminal Court (ICC). At the end of 2005, the court issued its first ever warrants for the arrest of five LRA commanders. However, there has been intense hostility towards the ICC's efforts to hold to account those individuals alleged to be most responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Local non-governmental organisations, human rights groups and Christian activists have argued that there can be no justice if it is only the LRA commanders who are prosecuted. The Ugandan government must be held to account for the way it has managed anti-insurgency policies and has used security as a violent mechanism of social control. Local groups have been joined by a host of international researchers and journalists in arguing that the issuing of warrants for the LRA prevents negotiations and undermines amnesty procedures. It thereby places the population at greater risk of attack. In addition they maintain that there are African forms of justice which are better than the flawed procedures of international law. Anthropological literature has been linked to the assertion that traditional reconciliation and healing procedures are a viable alternative. This lecture reviews the issues and presents a case for the ICC. In so doing, it counters the co-option of anthropological relativism by the transitional justice lobby, and asserts the value of imposing internationally agreed moral values as a means of forging peace.

Panel W021
Responses to insecurity: securitisation and its discontents