Victimisation and challenges to integration: Transitional justice response to children born of war in northern Uganda
Author: B Nanyunja
Affiliations: LLB (MUK), Dip. LP (LDC), LLM (UWC and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin); Legal Researcher, Uganda Legal Information Institute, Uganda.
Source: South African Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 33 Issue 3, p. 580 – 597
Uganda witnessed one of its worst conflicts between 1986 and 2007. The conflict in northern Uganda was between the government troops and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Serious crimes were committed against the civilian population. Women and girls were abducted by the rebels to serve as sex slaves and children were born as a result. After the conflict, these children’s integration has not been well received by their communities. It has not been properly addressed by the state operatives either. The children are dismissed as perpetrators of the conflict. Their return has been marred with stigmatisation and ostracism, forcing them to live on the margins of society. After the conflict, a National Transitional Justice Policy was passed. The overarching framework aims at addressing justice and reconciliation through inter alia social reintegration. However, it leaves an accountability gap. The framework largely departs from the needs of this particular community: acknowledging their existence and integration. The purpose of this article is to identify transitional justice opportunities and how these accommodate and advance accountability, integration and reconciliation in addressing victimisation concerns of the war children. Ultimately, it argues that addressing the abuses of the affected communities will ease social [re]integration.