Justice and Judicial Systems

Location

University of Dayton

Start Date

10-2-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

10-2-2015 12:00 PM

Abstract

Transitional justice (e.g. trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, etc.) has been vociferously championed as a tool to improve human rights and prevent the resumption of violence in the post-conflict period, yet little work has been undertaken to understand the prevalence of these practices while conflict is ongoing.

The assumption within the literature is that transitional justice (TJ) is put in place once conflict has ended or a political transition occurs, but this need not be the case. Through an empirical analysis of the ongoing conflict in Uganda between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army, this paper traces the implementation of various TJ processes across the conflict’s twenty-year history.

Drawing on existing arguments within conflict studies regarding government behavior during conflict, this paper theorizes and empirical assesses the government’s decision to implement TJ at various time-points during the conflict. Relying on new data from the During-Conflict Justice dataset, primary source material on the conflict in Uganda, as well as sixty in-depth interviews conducted with government ministers, Ugandan legal scholars and justice advocates, I find that the relative strength of the government vis-à-vis the rebels is an important determinant of when TJ is implemented during conflict and what processes are put in place.

These findings have important implications for how the international community views and supports TJ both while conflict is ongoing and in the post-conflict period.

Comments

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Oct 2nd, 10:30 AM Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Gunsmoke and Mirrors: Transitional Justice Implementation During Armed Conflict in Uganda (abstract)

University of Dayton

Transitional justice (e.g. trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, etc.) has been vociferously championed as a tool to improve human rights and prevent the resumption of violence in the post-conflict period, yet little work has been undertaken to understand the prevalence of these practices while conflict is ongoing.

The assumption within the literature is that transitional justice (TJ) is put in place once conflict has ended or a political transition occurs, but this need not be the case. Through an empirical analysis of the ongoing conflict in Uganda between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army, this paper traces the implementation of various TJ processes across the conflict’s twenty-year history.

Drawing on existing arguments within conflict studies regarding government behavior during conflict, this paper theorizes and empirical assesses the government’s decision to implement TJ at various time-points during the conflict. Relying on new data from the During-Conflict Justice dataset, primary source material on the conflict in Uganda, as well as sixty in-depth interviews conducted with government ministers, Ugandan legal scholars and justice advocates, I find that the relative strength of the government vis-à-vis the rebels is an important determinant of when TJ is implemented during conflict and what processes are put in place.

These findings have important implications for how the international community views and supports TJ both while conflict is ongoing and in the post-conflict period.