There’s an ongoing debate currently ongoing in Uganda about the constitutionality of the Ugandan government’s Amnesty Act of 2000, which provides a vital tool for encouraging LRA commanders and rank-file fighters to leave the group. Source: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2011/0909/Uganda-looks-to-strike-down-LRA-amnesty-law.
This is a rough issue, because were dealing with a group that has abducted numerous children and forced them to fight. The efforts to rehabilitate these children are truly heartbreaking. Setting aside the tremendous humanitarian impact this conflict has caused, do we eliminate the Amnesty Law or uphold it.
On one hand, amnesty has indeed enticed many to leave the L.R.A. This amnesty law has not however had the effect of ending the conflict. Joseph Kony will just find a way to find my fighters, probably through force of violence. It has also created a culture of immunity for men who have committed horrible atrosities and terrorized average Ugandans. But if you don’t have amnesty then you run the risk of prosecuting child soldiers who were coerced or drugged into becoming killers. Furthermore, I’m not confident the Ugandan justice system is strong enough to survive the mass influx of potential criminals connected to the conflict.
There’s no easy answer…but we cannot let a culture of impunity to reign supreme, or risk being branded just another African country that is corrupt, war-like, and can’t deal with its’ own problems. I think an absolute amnesty law is the wrong approach and hasn’t changed the bottom line of the hostilities. Every person should have their day in court and let whatever justice system in Uganda take its’ course, whatever may come it. Through immunity, only comes further criminality.