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The Lack of Accountability

Very little transparency or accountability for UPDF or LRA abuses exists in northern Uganda. Both perpetrate abuses of civilians in the north with almost complete impunity. The Amnesty Act of 2000 confers immunity from prosecution on the LRA, and the UPDF has said that its members should also be exempt from prosecution.98 Human Rights Watch believes all of those responsible for war crimes and other serious abuses should be held accountable, whether they are LRA fighters or UPDF soldiers.

LRA Impunity

Amnesty and Reconciliation

In 2000, the Uganda Parliament passed the Amnesty Act: it offers amnesty to all Ugandans engaged or engaging in acts of rebellion against the government since January 26, 1986, on condition that they report to a local authority, renounce and abandon the rebellion, surrender all weapons in their possession, and are issued a certificate of amnesty by the government.99 The Act has been promoted as a tool to promote peace and to encourage rebels from all parts of Uganda to come home.

It is estimated that the Amnesty Commission, the body established by the act to oversee its implementation, has granted amnesty to some 15,000 applicants.100 Among these are ex-LRA rebels but this number also includes rebels belonging to a host of other armed groups who have opposed the Museveni government since its inception.101 The amnesty has encouraged thousands of LRA combatants, including abductees, to escape and surrender.

Neither the Amnesty Act nor any other law, however, has any provision for a wider reconciliation mechanism such as a truth and reconciliation commission or a committee to award compensation to victims of the LRA’s atrocities.

The LRA rebels who return are to receive resettlement packages distributed by the Amnesty Commission. There has been only selective funding of the resettlement packages.102 Of the 15,000 people granted amnesty in Uganda, Justice Peter Onega estimates that 10,000 have still not received their packages, although the World Bank released U.S. $ 4.2 million for this purpose earlier in 2005.103 The resettlement package includes a lump sum of 263,000 Uganda shillings (US $150), as well as a mattress, a blanket, a hoe and seeds.104

Recently, a group of some 600 ex-LRA rebels began work at a government farm at Labora in Gulu district. In a move that almost mirrors the LRA structure in the bush, the ex-rebel commander Kenneth Banya—whom the UPDF described as the “main military and technical brain behind the rebellion”105 at his time of capture—was appointed head of the farm.106 The farm is exclusively for LRA returnees; it could contribute to a deterioration of relations between returnees benefiting from its produce and those still living in impoverished conditions in camps nearby.

The issue of packages for returned rebels is contentious in northern Uganda. A resident of Gulu town originally from Paicor camp expressed some bitterness to Human Rights Watch at how rebels coming out of the bush were getting a nice financial package “for having killed people.” Unless the government handles the matter with greater sensitivity than has been shown to date, the packages given to the returning rebels could be a source of continuing resentment and hinder reconciliation. 

The issue of returnee packages and compensation has been further distorted by the government. Ex-LRA commander Kenneth Banya and a few others live as guests of the UPDF in the barracks or in Colonel Otema’s renovated hotel in Gulu, the Acholi Inn. These rebels are the people most responsible for the LRA’s atrocities in the past—but they are to all appearances being rewarded despite their high-level involvement with the LRA and possibly leading role in its abuses. While the average returnee is quickly sent home to his village or camp with no or a delayed resettlement package or follow-up, the commanders live in relative luxury in Gulu town.

Maj. Shaba Bantariza, UPDF spokesman, told Human Rights Watch that one reason for the barracks residence and twenty-four-hour armed guard and military transport afforded to one ex-LRA commander was security. He effectively has no home. “If he goes to an internally displaced persons camp, personal security is not guaranteed,” the major said,107 no doubt on account of possible revenge-taking by LRA victims or punishment for desertion by his former LRA comrades.

The generous treatment given to the rebel commanders may be fueled by partisan political motives. Some of the LRA commanders who have returned have been used for propaganda for the ruling Movement party. Shortly after he was captured and granted amnesty, Cmdr. Kenneth Banya appeared at a public rally in Kitgum town saying, “Museveni deserves another term [as President].”108 Presidential elections are to be held in March 2006. Another returned LRA commander urged a crowd at Agoro and Madi Opei camps in Kitgum in early 2005 to keep Museveni as their leader.109

While the high-level commanders are given twenty-four-hour armed guard by the UPDF, usually ex-LRA returnees seek out displaced and missing family members in camps, but there is little further monitoring or follow-up by any agency. Human Rights Watch received unverified reports of revenge attacks on ex-LRA returnees resulting in injuries and even death.110 The government, however, makes efforts to assure potential returnees that they will be safe, and it sponsors recently surrendered LRA combatants to speak on the radio about the favorable treatment they received from the UPDF and others.

No organization is specifically charged with following up on this protection issue of former LRA fighters returning home; the female fighters/wives/mothers and their children’s difficulties in reintegration have been noted, but the physical protection needs of the male ex-LRA fighters is an entirely different issue. There is currently no monitoring of these ex-LRA returnees and little is known about how they are actually received by the community. The Amnesty Commission does not have the resources to follow up after issuing amnesty certificates and packages to applicants. The Head of the Amnesty Commission, Justice Peter Onega, stated that the Commission is “supposed to follow up on the grants of amnesty but we cannot. There are financial constraints.”111

Although very little is actually known about how well these returnees are received, as a result of the advocacy efforts of the Acholi traditional and religious leaders it has become received wisdom that there is little or no retribution because the Acholi are so “forgiving.” In one sense this is an exhortation to the community to treat the returnees well by appealing to indigenous cultural values.

Many victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch did not agree with the prospect of having the LRA leaders forgiven, however, but instead wanted justice, even retribution.112 There is a division of opinion between community leaders and victims on the topics of justice, accountability and reconciliation, as reflected in a recent survey.113 The survey provides evidence of the need for protection and for follow-up with ex-LRA fighters who have accepted the amnesty.

Human Rights Watch supports amnesties for individuals for their participation in internal armed conflicts but opposes in all circumstances amnesties for those implicated in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

UPDF Impunity

No effective accountability structure exists in the camps; reports of UPDF abuses rarely result in any investigation or prosecution of UPDF personnel. While there is a military detachment in each camp, police are few and far between in rural northern Uganda. Ultimately the level of discipline, protection of civilians and accountability rests on the will and personality of the immediate commander. Unfortunately, at times the commander of the detachment or other unit—with seemingly no consistent higher orders to punish those who abuse civilians—may be both the perpetrator and judge of the abuses and often has a conflict of interest.

The Ugandan government said, in response to the Human Rights Watch finding of lack of accountability for abuses committed by government soldiers in displaced persons camps:

There is a well established function[ing] accountability structure in the IDPC (Internally displaced people camp) for any abuses by the government officials more especially the UPDF. Lt Col Francis Achoka deputized by Capt Mzee Tutu are presidential appointees for IDPC Gulu for security monitoring and handling all cases of Human rights nature for subsequent action with either the UPDF courts and/or police in the civil courts.

In conclusion we note that most complaints are fronted by opposition Members of Parliament to malign the UPDF. Most of these alleged complaints are made when it is even commonly known that some of these people are killed along side and/or among the LRA rebels in the cross fire which is inevitable to avoid. [114]

The lack of accountability is exacerbated by the army’s preponderance of power in northern Uganda and the weakness of comparable civilian institutions. Local civilian officials and the civilian criminal justice system have neither the effective authority nor the capacity to hold the army accountable for the abuses it commits daily, although they have jurisdiction over military personnel in theory.

For those daring to complain about army abuse, the local council system is usually the first step. This system operates much as it does in the rest of the country; local village councilors (LC-1s), parish councilors (LC-2s), sub-county councilors (LC-3s), county councilors (LC-4s) or even district-level councilors (LC-5s)  are elected but do not have the same level of authority in practice as the military personnel, especially military commanders.115 Local councilors take the complaint, on behalf of the citizen affected, to the local army commander who is supposed to investigate the matter. Consequently, the abuse of a civilian commonly becomes an internal matter for army discipline to deal with.116

In many cases, complaints are not followed up nor investigated. Although the UPDF has internal mechanisms to maintain discipline in the ranks, the army rarely holds soldiers accountable for the abuses they commit against civilians. The most a victim of army abuse can expect is some minimal compensation, usually limited to small sums of money for loss of property, and occasionally the summary beating or transfer of a soldier. In most cases, however, the complaint appears to disappear into the barracks. There is no discernible attempt to investigate or follow up by the commander and the victim is left without any remedy. “Nothing was done” is a common refrain of those protesting abuse by soldiers.

The army has a system of courts martial for trying soldiers accused of anything from the smallest offenses to the most serious crimes or capital offenses.117 Although the courts martial are open to the public, they sit within the barracks and as such are intimidating places for civilians to attend.

Inadequate Response and Ineffective Remedies for Abuses by the UPDF

If a soldier is punished for abusing a civilian the victim rarely knows about it. Although the court martial system is supposed to be open to the public, in practice few know about the outcome of cases nor can they take issue with the results. As one camp leader said:

In most cases we are not satisfied with the way they are resolved. The soldiers do not follow the legal system of reporting to the police. They resolve it inside the barracks—we can’t follow up with the case inside the barracks.118

More often than not, when a complaint is lodged with the barracks there is hardly ever any further investigation of the case—many interviewees described how they simply did not hear anything further on the case, not even an interview by an army investigator or prosecutor, leaving them with the obvious conclusion that nothing was done to investigate or punish the perpetrator.

In a case that is typical of this experience, a man from Kitgum Matidi complained to the barracks through the sub-county council chairman after a soldier beat him with a club in his hut in March 2004. Although the incident had occurred almost a year before the interview with Human Rights Watch, the victim said, “Up to now there is no reaction.”119 In many cases there were simply “no repercussions,”120 no investigations, and no answers to people’s complaints at the barracks.

The Justice and Peace Commission project officer in Kitgum said it was “a common complaint in the camps—people are beaten and crimes are committed [by soldiers]. The local commander says ‘we are going to follow this,’ but nothing happens.”121

Even when a response is elicited from the local barracks it is rarely encouraging. Where victims cannot identify their assailants, a common occurrence where many attacks happen at night and there is turnover in the units posted to the area, normally no further investigation is undertaken. One man from Kitgum Matidi camp tried to complain about being tied up and robbed by some soldiers but was asked by the army officer if he recognized any of them. He did not, so, instead of a vigorous investigation by the commander, “nothing happened.”122

This attitude seems to have been conveyed down to the local councilors and leaders who usually field the complaints. The village councilor in Paicor camp told Juliane A, whom soldiers beat with sticks, that it would be difficult to follow up her case because she did not know the soldier.123 Okello A told zone leaders in Bobi camp about his beating at the hands of soldiers in February. The zone leaders told Okello that as he could not identify the soldiers, “it was not worth pursuing.”124

The ineffectiveness of the complaints procedure has contributed to a broader lack of confidence in the system of justice—people said that they did not bother to complain about abuse as nothing was expected to come from it. A sub-county councilor who had been beaten and then detained in a pit in the barracks explained that he had “seen many times that soldiers beat civilians and we take the cases to higher authorities and nothing happens—so there is now no use in bringing cases.”125 

In some cases, the army just did not bother to punish the perpetrator who was identified. A victim of rape in Pabbo camp identified the soldier who had attacked her. The result, according to her: “They did not imprison him, I don’t know why.”126 Another woman, who was raped by a soldier in Jengare camp in August 2004, said that she took her case to the police and identified the soldier. However, “nothing happened to the soldier. Others saw him at the barracks and nothing has happened to him.”127

In Paicor camp, a twenty-six-year-old man who worked at a small kiosk was left unconscious by a local commander after refusing to sell cigarettes below the normal sale price. He complained of this beating to internal security (GISO), a civilian administration, which sent a letter to the police, “but since then nothing has happened and [the commander] is still there [in the barracks].”128

Where corrective action is taken by the army, it is frequently inadequate. The UPDF sometimes offers small amounts of compensation or payment of medical treatment as opposed to any full investigation or punishment of the soldiers. After soldiers beat a fifty-five-year-old farmer on December 28, 2004, he complained to the local commander. The commander did not conduct an investigation into the incident but paid for some medical treatment.129

The army sometimes transfers soldiers, or even whole battalions, theoretically as “punishment” for abuse. This seems to be an action designed to prevent soldiers from being identified as abusers and to moot out complaints of abuse. It also deals with the problem by relocating it rather than stopping it.

A young man who had been displaced since 1996 was beaten up by soldiers in Pabbo camp. He tried to follow up his case with the local councilor but was told that nothing could be done “because the soldier was no longer there.”130 This practice is also dangerous in that it foists an abusive battalion or soldier on a new group of civilians who will in all likelihood be subjected to the same abusive behavior.

Human Rights Watch complained to authorities in Uganda about the notorious UPDF 11th Battalion’s activities it documented in Cwero and Awach displaced persons camps; others complained as well. It was reported to Human Rights Watch that this battalion was transferred from Cwero and Awach camps to mobile duties.131 Although the transfer was no doubt welcomed by camp residents it seems unlikely that the soldiers will be held accountable for the numerous abuses they committed in these two camps.  The battalion continues to operate as a unit in northern Uganda.

Fear of and Intimidation by UPDF Impedes Accountability

Many people expressed their fear of possible repercussions if they complain about abuses by UPDF soldiers. A Legal Aid Officer with the Norwegian Refugee Council in Kitgum said, “People fear to report a case—they think it is better to keep quiet. They have the fear that something terrible will happen if they report the case.”132 A man who had been beaten up by soldiers in Pajule camp said that other people in the camp had told him not to report the case because “if you say something bad about the soldiers, the soldiers may kill you.”133

A thirty-four-year-old father of eleven children was detained and beaten at the barracks near Cwero on February 8, 2005, but did not file a complaint because he felt “it would only bring me greater suffering.”134 Another resident of the same camp who was beaten and robbed by soldiers when he went to the stream to drink also said that he was “too scared to file a complaint.”135

This fear is not without basis. Following Human Rights Watch’s visit to Cwero camp in Gulu on February 26, 2005, soldiers harassed some of the interviewees. People were reportedly interrogated about what they told Human Rights Watch researchers and warned not to speak to outsiders again.

It is not only the camp residents who are intimidated. Both the police and local councilors seem to be afraid of the army. A project officer with the Justice and Peace Commission, who works on cases brought by displaced persons to him through a network of volunteers in the camps, said that only “sometimes [do] police get involved” in cases of abuse by the army against civilians. He is “sure that the police are scared to arrest a soldier.”136

The elected local councilors are frequently either victims or witnesses of abuses by the local commander themselves, making it both intimidating and difficult for them to complain on behalf of others. Severino Okello was detained and beaten by soldiers when returning from a hunting trip outside the camp. Following his release he complained to two local councilors but “the [local councilors] did nothing because one of the LCs… was beaten.” He added, “LCs told us that cases like [his] hunting [case] should not be taken to them because they, as LCs, fear soldiers—the soldiers don’t listen to the LCs.”137

The government of Uganda made the following response to this case:

There is nothing on record to indicate that [Severino Okello] was ever arrested, detained and or beaten by soldiers of 11th Battalion. Most cases hunters are organized in groups and each time they go hunting they notify the local area commander in order to avoid mistaken identity for the LRA for their safety. It is not possible for a hunter to go alone unless he has ulterior motive. [138]   

Soldiers beat a group of men who had gone hunting outside the camp then took them back to the barracks. The local council chair came to intervene but the commander insisted, “These people were beaten because they were outside [the camp]. Why did they go outside?” The civilians were beaten an additional twenty-five lashes and then released, but as one said, “Since the LC was there and saw it, how can we complain to him?”139

In some cases, the local councilors were able to obtain the release of someone illegally detained at the local barracks, but rarely were they able to intervene and stop a beating in progress.

Sometimes the complaint does not even get past the local councilor, often because the councilors are afraid. A farmer from Cwero camp said, “Even if everyone takes cases concerning the military, the LC just sits on it. The LCs themselves fear the soldiers.”140

Many councilors, although they are an elected part of the administrative and political system, lack confidence in their government or are unwilling to confront the local commander. Several interviewees described how when they attempted to complain the councilor told them that nothing could be done. In one case the LC seemed to condone soldiers’ abusive actions by telling a group of civilians who had been beaten by soldiers to “stop moving late [after curfew].”141

Other interviewees described how they felt the beatings by soldiers had become so normal that they did not bother to register a complaint; they thought the beatings were just part of the soldier’s normal work. For instance, soldiers beat a woman from Paicor with sticks on an evening in June 2004 but she “didn’t report the case because it is very common to be beaten like this.”142

It is also extremely difficult for women who are victims of sexual abuse or rape to report their cases. Most reporting through the local councilors becomes extremely public, and women explained that they were very fearful of the negative reaction of the community to rape victims. Two women told Human Rights Watch that because of their fear of public opinion they had never before told anyone what had happened to them—and asked Human Rights Watch to keep their identities confidential.143

Lack of Police Presence in Northern Uganda

The police in Uganda are obliged to “prevent the commission of offences” and “detect and bring offenders to justice.”144 Police are not expected to fight the LRA but to investigate possible criminal law violations.

Many camps each containing tens of thousands of people have not a single police officer to monitor, investigate or prosecute crime, however. In any normal Ugandan towns of this size, this would be unheard of. The lack of police services is scandalous given that the total population deprived of police in the camps easily exceeds one million.

For example, in Gulu district—where government capacity is greater than in Kitgum and Pader—there are police posts in only three out of a total of approximately fifty-one camps. In addition, those police posts are grossly understaffed. For example, in Pabbo camp, Gulu there are only ten to twelve police officers for a population of about 65,000 camp residents. The District Superintendent of Police for Gulu district complained to Human Rights Watch of his lack of resources and manpower, explaining that despite his requests to Kampala for greater manpower, little had changed in his two years at the post. 145

The absence of police presence in the camps—with very few exceptions—undermines systematic civilian protection and government accountability in northern Uganda. The congested camps are in dire need of an effective police force to halt abusive acts within the community such as domestic violence, act as a mediator in the army’s interactions with civilians and investigate complaints of abuses by the army. The police have the authority to investigate criminal offenses committed by army soldiers and officers.

Yet there is a military presence in each camp. The District Superintendent for Gulu police admitted, “Policing [in the camps] is done by the army.”146 Consequently, people find themselves in a situation where they have to bring their complaints directly to those abusing them.

The police bemoan the fact that they are so understaffed. The District Superintendent complained that he had asked for 350 extra police officers (the total number he has under his command at the time of Human Rights Watch’s visit was one hundred) but his requests to Kampala go unmet.

The general funding for the district of Gulu is poor. There are general operational costs and the money sent is not enough. There is one police vehicle, which is not new and not very sound. The police have to tend to all activities: escort dignitaries, administration, inquiries, traffic, murders, etc.147

If lack of resources is the reason then international donors to Uganda should act to fill the gap. Donors already fund some 50 percent of Uganda’s budget.148 It is becoming clear that donors are increasingly concerned not about the lack of resources but the government’s allocation of those resources and that this is responsible for the lack of progress in social development, including law and order. In the budget presented to the Ugandan Parliament on June 8, 2005, the executive branch allocated a massive US$200 million to defense spending, accompanied by a donor protest against this level of military funding.149

Donors should continue to pressure the Ugandan government to address urgent needs in northern Uganda such as civilian protection and government accountability. Although the police are reluctant to proceed against their UPDF colleagues, a signal from donors in the form of increased financial support for policing services to communities in northern Uganda even in the midst of war might reinforce and strengthen the police response.

The Weak Judicial System in Northern Uganda

In addition to court martial proceedings, soldiers in Uganda can be tried in regular civilian courts. In Gulu there is a High Court that can hear serious criminal (capital) offenses as well as Magistrates’ courts in Gulu and Kitgum that can hear cases of a less serious nature. However, relatively few criminal cases are brought against UPDF soldiers because of the lack of any real police presence in the camps in northern Uganda and police reluctance to proceed against soldiers in a war zone.

Civil cases for compensation against the army can also be brought, but individual private litigation is an expensive process, far beyond the means of most displaced persons. The legal mechanism of habeas corpus is available to force the army to produce any individual it has detained incommunicado but this remedy is open only to those with enough money to hire a lawyer; the mechanism does not appear to have been adopted for popular use and few individuals have tried.

The courts are grossly understaffed. Kitgum and Pader—which with Gulu constitute the Acholi region—remain backwaters compared to Gulu: little or no judicial presence exists in those two districts. Kitgum has only two magistrates for the entire district and all cases dealing with serious (capital) offenses for both districts are referred to the High Court in Gulu, as magistrates’ courts do not have jurisdiction over serious or capital cases.150

In March 2005, no High Court judge had sat in Gulu for more than five months: a large backlog exists of cases two to three years old. Justice Peter Onega, the head of the Amnesty Commission who was also a member of the judiciary and backup High Court judge for Gulu, was assigned there in early 2005. It was arranged that he would leave his duties and go to Gulu to sit in the High Court, but for only one session lasting about a month. The High Court hears habeas petitions and presides over trials of serious (capital) offenses such as murder, treason and terrorism.151

With such a backlog, and so few cases against soldiers reaching the courts, the court system in northern Uganda is ineffectual in holding soldiers accountable for their abuses. An officer with HURIFO, which takes cases to court, explained she was “hoping the High Court judge will come back as all our cases [against soldiers] are pending.”152

There are no private attorneys based in Gulu but those based in Kampala travel to Gulu for court appearances and other work. Gulu is some five to six hours by private car from Kampala. The roads in 2005 were passable and usually secure.

Ugandan Nongovernmental Human Rights Monitoring Organizations in Northern Uganda

Ugandan NGOs have been the main, and usually only, organizations doing human rights monitoring work in the north, accompanied by occasional interventions by foreign organizations. Human Rights Focus (HURIFO), an NGO with its office in Gulu, investigates abuses, writes reports, conducts human rights educational programs and takes human rights cases to court, among other activities.

Its monitoring activities are conducted through a team of monitors who travel regularly to the camps and a network of volunteer trained information gatherers who keep tabs on the day-to-day situation in the camps. Civilians, especially the displaced, usually lack the resources to reach the HURIFO office in Gulu town.

HURIFO manages a caseload of individual complaints (including court proceedings against the UPDF regarding its use of forced labor of civilians to clear high grass from near the roads where the LRA could set up an ambush). It has achieved some success with its small staff and volunteers but it does not have the capacity to deal with the large number of abuse cases in northern Uganda.

Despite limited capacity, HURIFO has been effective on some issues. HURIFO conducts training of civilians in camps on basic human rights and how to effectively lodge complaints against the UPDF. In the case of Bobi camp, Gulu district, this training was extremely successful in stemming a sustained pattern of sexual abuse by soldiers in 2004. HURIFO organized a workshop for one hundred community leaders in Bobi camp to teach human rights and show how to press an effective complaint.

HURIFO invited the army officer in charge of the displaced camps in northern Uganda, Lt. Col. Achoka. Reportedly he went to the local commander and “told all the soldiers about the problem of rights violations,”153 demonstrating how firm direction from above can have an immediate impact on halting army abuses.

The change in the behavior of the army detachment at Bobi was striking. The camp leader described how “before the training there were threats [by the army], now there are none.” He added, “After the training, rape, defilement and torture have stopped.”154

HURIFO has also conducted research into the abuses committed by the LRA, and works to raise the level of human rights awareness through seminars, workshops and other community outreach activities. HURIFO undertook an advocacy campaign encouraging the government of Uganda to accept an amnesty for rebels in exchange for peace.155

Only a few other independent human rights monitoring groups are working in northern Uganda. There is a much smaller NGO presence in Kitgum and Pader than in Gulu.

The Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of the Catholic Church’s Archdiocese in Gulu carries out work similar to that of HURIFO, most notably in Kitgum where it has the only presence, with one officer working through a network of volunteers in six camps on a limited caseload.

This is a relatively recent innovation and still quite limited in scope and capacity. The volunteers received their first training from the JPC in October 2004 and JPC had only one staff member in Kitgum by March 2005. If cases are taken on they are usually forwarded to the already overburdened HURIFO or the Uganda Human Rights Commission.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has an Information, Counseling and Legal Aid (ICLA) project with four lawyers in Gulu who visit the camps. The caseworkers mainly deal with disputes relating to land, gratuities and pensions as opposed to human rights abuses.

The NRC ICLA project visits each camp in the two districts about twice a month but an officer reported, “There is a problem of money for getting the case to court.” ICLA usually works through local partners (such as HURIFO in Gulu) but the ICLA officer in Kitgum said, “There are no organizations and few with qualities to do the work for ICLA [in Kitgum].”156

Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) in Northern Uganda

The UHRC, which was mandated by the Uganda Constitution,157 has a renewed presence in Gulu.  It has investigated and heard individual cases against the government army, monitored abuses and provided some human rights training for the UPDF. However, it is under-funded and understaffed for its work in northern Uganda and its limited authority has been undercut by lack of government implementation. Another UHCR activity that potentially has benefits for the north is training in human rights for army personnel.158

The UHRC’s power to conduct investigations and hearings on individual complaints relieves the usually impecunious victims of abuses from the need to pay for a lawyer. Victims may report incidents of abuse to the Gulu office. A UHRC human rights officer investigates the case and reports back to UHRC’s headquarters in Kampala. The case is then scheduled for a tribunal hearing in which victims of abuse can be awarded compensation. The hearing is conducted by a judge who must be one of the UHRC commissioners.

The UHRC has the power to order compensation, the release of a person from detention or restriction and any other legal remedy or redress. Its powers are civil but not criminal, except the power to hold someone in contempt.159 Its orders have been almost entirely in the form of awards of compensation for victims of human rights abuses.

There are several drawbacks to this system in practice. The UHRC is understaffed, underfunded and backlogged, particularly in northern Uganda. The UHRC’s commissioners are nominated by the president of Uganda and approved by Parliament and have no right of tenure, which leaves them vulnerable to government pressure—and the war in the north is increasingly controversial.160 Finally, although the UHRC has made a number of awards of compensation against the state, the UHCR reported that more than 90 per cent of such awards have not been paid by the government.161 The activities of the UHRC have been undercut by the government’s lack of enforcement. On May 19, 2005, the UN Committee Against Torture expressed concern “about the frequent lack of implementation by the State party [Uganda] of the [UHRC] Commission’s decisions.”162

The UHRC, as well as the larger international community, has been markedly absent from the field in northern Uganda: apparently it has not been a priority to assign staff or funds there. At the time of the research for this report, the UHRC had only four senior staff in northern Uganda, based in Gulu. One of the four is the human rights officer, who covers ten northern districts from the Congo to the Kenyan borders. He estimated that in a three-month period he visits “perhaps five camps in four or five districts” but his travel is often limited because “sometimes funding is not available.”163

Consequently it is very difficult for the UHRC Gulu office to handle many cases. The office in Gulu has a courtroom for a UHRC tribunal to sit but Commissioners only come periodically to hear cases.164 According to the Human Rights Officer, “There is a serious backlog of cases.” In March 2005 Commissioners were hearing cases from “two to three years ago.”165 The Human Rights Officer in Gulu claimed that the UHRC “tried to establish an office in Kitgum but there are no funds.”

It is shocking that the UHRC does not have a greater presence in northern Uganda where a humanitarian and human rights crisis has persisted for nineteen years. Its total staff throughout Uganda numbers more than one hundred,166 indicating that northern Uganda is not a significant commitment for this institution, which should have been providing a much more robust staff for the north.

It is imperative that the government, with the assistance of donors, takes prompt action to ensure that the UHRC can expand its presence in the north, preferably with earmarked funds.

The International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was created in 1998 by an international treaty, the Rome Statute, which came into effect in July 2002, with a mandate to investigate and bring to justice persons who bear responsibility for the most serious crimes of international concern. President Museveni called upon the ICC to investigate the “situation concerning the Lord’s Resistance Army” in December 2003, the first state referral that the ICC had received since its inception. On January 29, 2004 the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, participated in a joint press conference in London with President Museveni to announce the referral. On July 29, 2004 the ICC announced that it would undertake a full investigation of the situation in northern Uganda.

The joint press conference generated enormous controversy over the ICC in northern Uganda. Northern leaders felt that the timing of the investigation was wrong because the conflict was still ongoing and issuance of arrest warrants by the ICC could only serve to scuttle the peace process, leading to further attacks on the civilian population.167 Traditional and religious leaders have advocated amnesty and traditional reconciliation mechanisms in lieu of criminal prosecution and international justice for the rebels. They argued that the court’s investigation was inconsistent with traditional reconciliation rituals of the Acholi people, the main ethnic group affected by the mostly-Acholi LRA.

A major shortcoming of the traditional reconciliation approach is the tolerance of impunity. The process involves acceptance of perpetrators back into the community after certain rituals, but does not take into account the views of the individual victims who might not want to forgive serious crimes, nor does it require the perpetrators be punished or pay material compensation to the victims.

Moreover, such rituals could not be expected to satisfy those who are not Acholi, and the Acholi have not been the only victims of the LRA. The Langi of Lira district and Teso in Soroti district to the south and southeast of Gulu respectively have been greatly affected by the LRA conflict since 2002, as have southern Sudanese, most of whom are non-Acholi.

The ICC investigation has had its shortcomings. Due to lack of an effective outreach strategy by the ICC, its potential role in ensuring justice and ending impunity in the conflict has been largely misunderstood. The Prosecutor’s appearance with the Ugandan President at a press conference coupled with the fact that the ICC’s intervention in the conflict was through a government referral led to serious questions about the court’s impartiality.

This perception of the ICC has contributed to significant misinformation, rumors and confusion about the role of the court in the conflict. False reports in the press in late 2004 that the ICC had already issued arrest warrants for LRA leader Kony and some top LRA commanders caused widespread speculation about the effect this might have on northern Uganda and the peace discussions then underway.168 It is difficult to understand why the ICC did not publicly correct this misstatement of fact about its actions.

The Office of the Prosecutor has only recently begun engaging in greater dialogue with civil society in northern Uganda. Several northern Ugandan leaders traveled to The Hague in February 2005169 and on April 14-16, 2005170 to urge the ICC Prosecutor not to issue arrest warrants while peace negotiations were ongoing. They included a member of parliament who has been a supporter of the ICC.171

The ICC needs to take immediate action to reach out to the people and civil society groups in northern Uganda. This will help the population understand the mandate of the court. The ICC badly needs to regain the confidence and trust of the people whose interests it is pursuing. It must correct the image it has acquired of an institution subject to manipulation by the Ugandan government for political expediency. It must restore the image of a credible international institution and seek to work with victims of human rights crimes to achieve the ends of justice.

The ICC needs to put in place a robust plan to clarify its mandate, explain its role and clearly outline to the people of northern Uganda what it can and cannot do. For instance, the ICC must make it clear to northern Ugandans that it can only investigate crimes committed after July 2002, when the ICC statute came into effect.

It is also vital that the Prosecutor quickly act to demonstrate the court’s impartiality. Civil society remains concerned that the ICC is being manipulated by President Museveni, whose statements have not dispelled that impression.172 In recent media interviews, the ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo did not rule out the court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed by the UPDF,173 and President Museveni welcomed the possibility.174 However, a clear reiteration that the ICC can investigate crimes committed by both sides to the conflict accompanied by some activity on the ground to back this up would bolster the court’s credibility.

The ICC must impartially and objectively investigate crimes committed by the LRA and government forces falling within its jurisdiction, namely war crimes and crimes against humanity that are “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.”  Because any prosecutions conducted by the ICC will be limited to only a few offenders, the Ugandan government must still pursue prosecutions of those violating Ugandan and international law, including crimes committed by the UPDF and LRA forces prior to July 2002.

The ICC must also put in place adequate witness protection measures. A consultant for Save the Children in Uganda went to Gulu district in November 2004 and easily was able to find witnesses who had spoken to the ICC prosecutor’s office. If a foreign consultant is able to do this then certainly the LRA and the UPDF can, and this places potential ICC witnesses in great danger.

The LRA has a history of singling out its civilian “enemies” and LRA deserters for abduction or assassination. Agnes, who was abducted in 1995 and became the second wife (of seven) of LRA Brig. Gen. Vincent Otti, escaped at age twenty in 2004. Otti wrote a letter after Agnes escaped, threatened to massacre everyone in the parish where Agnes came from unless she was returned to him. The LRA went to Agnes’ village and beat her mother to death, according to a relative.175

One problem the ICC might face is enforcement of its arrest warrants, should any be issued. The ICC does not have any means of enforcing its decisions, and depends on the goodwill of the member states to effect arrests. As an international body with a clear mandate to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity, the ICC represents the most credible and impartial option in ensuring that justice is done in northern Uganda. It is important for future stability and peace that those most responsible for atrocities are held accountable. The international community should continue to support, and critically engage with, the ICC in its ongoing investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes in northern Uganda.

Ongoing Peace Negotiations and the ICC

In November 2004, the prospect of a peaceful solution to the war received a boost when President Museveni announced a unilateral ceasefire in certain designated areas in northern Uganda. The initial ceasefire period was extended and it seemed they were on the verge of a major breakthrough. The LRA did not sign a ceasefire agreement by a December 31, 2004 deadline, and talks were gravely set back.

Talks revived in late May 2005. Betty Bigombe, a former government minister of the north who undertook a private initiative in 2004 to restart the talks, returned to Uganda and reportedly tried to meet with Kony. She is one of the few mediators or negotiators to ever meet with Kony. She was joined in May by Hans Jacob Frydenlund, a counselor with the Norwegian mission to the UN with extensive peace negotiation experience.176 No ceasefire has been declared. A government military offensive against the LRA, suspended in November 2004 and then reinstated in early 2005, is ongoing.

Bigombe has been vocal in her criticism of the ICC, expressing concern that the issuance of arrest warrants could derail the peace process. In February 2005, Bigombe threatened to completely withdraw from negotiations if the ICC issued arrest warrants. “The International Criminal Court just wants to prove itself at the cost of peace, and they seem not to care… I have told the prosecutor that the moment they issue arrest warrants, I will stop the peace process.”177

Accountability and justice are not inherently inimical to peace. In fact, the converse is true: long-term peace and stability cannot be achievable in an environment of impunity. Accountability for gross violations of human rights and justice for the victims of such violations comprises a strong foundation upon which peace and stability are built. Perpetrators of crimes that go unpunished are likely to commit crimes in the future, particularly those who are able to achieve positions of power. Individual and communal acts of revenge as a result of the lack of government prosecution—and in the face of government rewards to the persecutors—would threaten the peace. The ICC could play a central role by ensuring that accountability and justice are present in the peace and reconstruction process in northern Uganda and being more public about its activities.

It may be that the issuance of arrest warrants results in the LRA cutting off peace negotiations, but this may be only a pretext for a foreordained result. The ICC may be criticized unfairly—indeed, peace negotiations have never been successful before in the nineteen-year war, and the ICC did not even come into effect until 2002.

Justice and Reconciliation: What Do the Victims Want?

Alongside the Amnesty Act, traditional reconciliation is strongly advocated by almost all traditional and religious leaders in the north as the alternative to the ICC. Many working in northern Uganda and other concerned individuals and organizations, including many international NGOs, have supported the views of the Acholi traditional and religious leaders on reconciliation.178 There are exceptions, including an anthropologist of Acholi spiritual cults, who argues that the traditional rites are intended for resolution of individual and clan-level disputes only; they are not for reconciliation for crimes committed in wartime by armed rebels (or government soldiers) against the whole community.179

Very few victims of LRA abuses interviewed by Human Rights Watch in the camps expressed any desire for “forgiveness”—many asked for “punishment” of the commanders.180 One activist reported that the people of his community, Atiak in Gulu, would not be happy to have its native son, Vincent Otti, the LRA’s number two, return home. Otti is regarded as responsible for an attack that claimed more than one hundred lives in Atiak many years ago. “They want him ‘Savimbi’d,’” the activist reported, referring to the violent death of the Angolan rebel leader.181

Even if there were a consensus among the Acholi about the desire to follow traditional services and forgive the LRA, it is not certain that non-Acholi victims of the LRA, such as the Teso, Langi, and Sudanese attacked by the LRA in Sudan and in Sudanese refugee camps in northern Uganda, would agree to resolve their complaints against the LRA through Acholi mechanisms.

A formal survey of attitudes of ordinary northern Ugandans and victims published in July 2005 reveals that many more than previously thought support prosecution of LRA leaders and some also want the UPDF held accountable for their crimes (76 percent). A majority of those surveyed wanted both peace and justice, and did not think they were mutually exclusive.182 Regardless of victim and community attitudes, however, Human Rights Watch considers that those most responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity should be investigated and prosecuted.

Not the ICC Alone: Comprehensive Mechanisms for Peace and Justice in Uganda

Ultimately the ICC’s mandate is limited and its investigation of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed after July 2002 in northern Uganda cannot operate in isolation from the national context. The arbitrary impact of the July 2002 date does not take into account the long history of the war in the north.

A broader truth and reconciliation process would be a valuable supplement to the ICC investigation. This process could work alongside traditional rituals in which those affected wish to participate. A truth and reconciliation commission could focus on the period from the end of the war in the Luwero Triangle in the mid-1980s—between forces of President Milton Obote and the rebel NRA headed by Yoweri Museveni—to the present. It could investigate the NRA defeat of the Obote army, comprised mostly of Acholi, Langi, West Nilers and other northern Ugandans, and their flight to northern Uganda and over the border into Sudan. It could examine the Museveni rebels’ pursuit of the remains of the Obote army into the Acholi sub-region in 1986, locally perceived as a human rights catastrophe and an “invasion” for the purpose of revenge-taking (for Luwero Triangle and other massacres by Obote’s northern forces) on northern civilians by southerners in the NRA. The greatest human rights abuses by the Museveni forces against northern civilians, according to local accounts, stem from this period.

This truth reconstruction and telling process would give people in northern Uganda a forum in which they could raise human rights abuses that occurred during the entire nineteen years of war that they believe need to be addressed.

Tim Allen, an anthropologist of the Acholi, noted that such a truth telling process may be triggered by the ICC trial of those ultimately arrested.183 Participants in the truth-telling process would not be constrained by the ICC July 2002 jurisdictional limit. They may raise incidents and events occurring long before July 2002. This may prompt the first public evaluation of some of the more controversial events in the war, bringing allegations, rumors, and facts into the open that were not previously discussed nor carefully examined to present a more complete historical record. 

Economic reconstruction on a massive scale must be undertaken in northern Uganda so the area can become prosperous once again; the physical and social devastation of northern Uganda during nineteen years of brutal armed conflict has been thorough. Fair and independent adjudication of claims to land will be necessary for economic recovery. Land is an increasingly delicate issue in northern Uganda where more than 90 percent of the Acholi population has been displaced for such a prolonged time. Vulnerable groups, such as child-headed households (who may have no knowledge of the land they are entitled to), widows, and those with absent leaders will possibly be exploited. The equitable adjudication of land disputes will be key to the success of any future peace as well.

The Ugandan government will have to work assiduously to ensure greater inclusiveness of the Acholi in local and national government. Many Acholi feel they have been marginalized by the current government and rumors persist that Museveni has no interest in ending the war as the suffering is punishment of “southerners” for being abused and excluded by “northerners” controlling the government in previous decades. The full representation and involvement of the Acholi in their diversity at local and national levels will be vital to ensuring a future peace and respect for human rights.

[98]The Ugandan Amnesty Act states in Section 3 (1):

An Amnesty is declared in respect of any Ugandan who has at any time since the 26th day of January, 1986 engaged in or is engaging in war or armed rebellion against the government of the Republic of Uganda by—

(a) actual participation in combat;

(b) collaborating with the perpetrators of the war or armed rebellion;

(c) committing any other crime in the furtherance of the war or armed rebellion; or

(d) assisting or aiding the conduct or prosecution of the war or armed rebellion.

Government of Uganda, The Amnesty Act, 2000, (retrieved June 21, 2005).

[99] Government of Uganda, The Amnesty Act, 2000, (retrieved June 21, 2005).

[100] Human Rights Watch interview, Justice Peter Onega, Head of the Amnesty Commission, Kampala, March 18, 2005.

[101] See, e.g., Gerard Prunier, “Rebel Movements and Proxy Warfare: Uganda, Sudan and the Congo (1986-99), African Affairs (London: 2004), 103/412, pp. 359-83.

[102] For example, one international donor provided the funding for the package of 4.2bn Ugandan shillings that was apportioned for returning UNRFII rebels in West Nile.

[103] “Uganda receives fund from World Bank to be used for ex-rebels,” Xinhua news agency, Kampala, March 21, 2005.

[104]“Uganda: Forgiveness as an instrument of peace,” IRIN, Kitgum, June 9, 2005. (retrieved June 24, 2005).

[105] “Uganda: Senior LRA commander captured by the army,” IRIN, Kampala, July 15, 2004.

[106] Dennis Ojwee, “Ex-LRA rebels start farming 500 acres in Gulu,” New Vision, Kampala, April 26, 2005.

[107] Human Rights Watch interview, Maj. Shaban Bantariza, Public Relations Officer, UPDF, Kampala, March 18, 2005.

[108] Justin Moro, “Ex-rebel asks Acholi to support third term,” New Vision, Kampala, July 26, 2004.

[109] Wokorach Oboi, “Cancel 2006 polls - former rebels,” New Vision, Kampala, April 21, 2005.

[110] Human Rights Watch interview, program officers, international aid organization, Gulu, March 14, 2005.

[111] Human Rights Watch interview, Justice Peter Onega, Head of the Amnesty Commission, Amnesty Commission offices, Kampala, March 18, 2005.

[112] Allen, Tim, War and Justice in Northern Uganda: An Assessment of the International Criminal Court’s Intervention (Draft), Crisis States Research Centre, London School of Economics, London, February 2005, p. 48, (retrieved July 4, 2005).

[113] International Center for Transitional Justice and the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, “Forgotten Voices: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Peace and Justice in Northern Uganda” (July 2005).

[114] Statement of Ugandan government to Human Rights Watch Complaints, received by Human Rights Watch on August 23, 2005. The UNLA is the former government army, the Uganda National Liberation Army, which was defeated in 1986 by the rebel forces of the NRA led by current president Yoweri Museveni; the UPDA, the Ugandan People’s Democratic Army, was a rebel formed in 1986 from the remnants of the UNLA (which included a majority of northerners).

[115] The LC1 is able to adjudicate certain minor disputes between community members. More serious cases, involving for example human rights abuses by the army, normally would be taken to the police to investigate. But with few exceptions there are no police in displaced persons camps in northern Uganda.

[116] Courts martial are constituted as required at each barracks or division, but more serious cases may be referred to the general court martial. These courts martial are supposedly open to the public but it seems that the local population rarely attends the proceedings, perhaps from fear of going into the barracks or lack of publicity about the hearing.

[117] The defense review noted that under the UPDF Act of 1992, in effect at the time of this research, even the smallest disciplinary matter, usually subject to summary trial in other countries, must be taken to a formal court martial in Uganda, which is cumbersome; backlogs develop as the courts martial have their own problems, (retrieved June 20, 2005).

[118] Human Rights Watch interview, camp leader, Paicor camp, Gulu, February 27, 2005.

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with victim, Kitgum Matidi camp, Kitgum, March 5, 2005.

[120] Human Rights Watch interview with victim, Kitgum Matidi camp, Kitgum, March 5, 2005.

[121] Human Rights Watch interview, James Onen, Project Officer, Justice and Peace Commission, Kitgum town, March 7, 2005.

[122] Human Rights Watch interview with victim, Kitgum Matidi camp, Kitgum, March 5, 2005.

[123] Human Rights Watch interview, Paicor camp, Gulu, February 27, 2005.

[124] Human Rights Watch interview, Bobi camp, Gulu, February 28, 2005.

[125] Human Rights Watch interview with victim, Paicor camp, Gulu, February 27, 2005.

[126] Human Rights Watch interview with woman victim, Pabbo camp, Gulu, February 25, 2005.

[127] Human Rights Watch interview with victim, Pabbo camp, Gulu, February 25, 2005.

[128] Human Rights Watch interview with vendor, Paicor camp, Gulu, February 27, 2005.

[129] Human Rights Watch interview with witness, Paicor camp, Gulu, February 27, 2005.

[130] Human Rights Watch interview with young man, Pabbo camp, Gulu, February 25, 2005.

[131] “Mobile” means that it would be involved in active patrolling operations rather than camp protection.

[132] Human Rights Watch interview with Grace Atim, Information, Counseling and Legal Aid Officer, Norwegian Refugee Council, Kitgum, March 1, 2005.

[133] Human Rights Watch interview with witness, Pajule camp, Pader, March 4, 2005.

[134] Human Rights Watch interview with witness, Cwero camp, Gulu, February 26, 2005.

[135] Human Rights Watch interview with witness, Cwero camp, Gulu, February 26, 2005.

[136] Human Rights Watch interview, James Onen, Project Officer, Justice and Peace Commission, Kitgum town, March 7, 2005.

[137] Human Rights Watch interview, Severino Okello, Cwero camp, Gulu, February 26, 2005.

[138] Statement of Ugandan government to Human Rights Watch Complaints, received by Human Rights Watch on August 23, 2005. The UNLA is the former government army, the Uganda National Liberation Army, which was defeated in 1986 by the rebel forces of the NRA led by current president Yoweri Museveni; the UPDA, the Ugandan People’s Democratic Army, was a rebel formed in 1986 from the remnants of the UNLA (which included a majority of northerners).

[139] Human Rights Watch interview with hunter, Cwero camp, Gulu, February 26, 2005.

[140] Human Rights Watch interview with victim, Cwero camp, Gulu, February 26, 2005.

[141] Human Rights Watch interview with witness, Agoro camp, Gulu, March 3, 2005.

[142] Human Rights Watch interview with woman, Paicor camp, Gulu, February 27, 2005.

[143] Human Rights Watch interviews with victims, Kitgum Matidi camp, Kitgum, March 5, 2005.

[144] S. 21 Police Act 1994 Cap. 303, Statute 13/1994.

[145] Human Rights Watch interview, Richard Mvule, District Superintendent of Police, Gulu District, Gulu, March 15, 2005.

[146] Human Rights Watch interview, Richard Mvule, District Superintendent of Police, Gulu District, Gulu, March 15, 2005.

[147] Human Rights Watch interview, Richard Mvule, District Superintendent of Police, Gulu District, Gulu, March 15, 2005.

[148] The budget for 2005/05, which was under debate as of the writing of this report, would be funded by donors at a somewhat lower level, estimated at 40 percent.

[149] Okodan Akwapt, “Uganda Military Allocated $200m as Donors Protest,” The East African, Nairobi, June 20, 2005.

[150] A new High Court was established in West Nile districts, which removed some of the burden and backlog from the Gulu High Court. One of two judges who sat on the High Court in Gulu, however, was transferred to the new High Court, leaving the Gulu High Court with only one judge. Then that one fell ill. Human Rights Watch interview, Justice Peter Onega, Head of the Amnesty Commission, Amnesty Commission offices, Kampala, March 18, 2005.

[151] Human Rights Watch interview, Justice Peter Onega, Head of the Amnesty Commission, Amnesty Commission offices, Kampala, March 18, 2005. Justice Onega recused himself from hearing any cases of treason or terrorism in the High Court, however, on the grounds that he might later receive such cases at the Amnesty Commission.

[152] Human Rights Watch interview, Odoki Okello Gorreti, Information and Counseling officer, HURIFO, Gulu, February 28, 2005.

[153] Human Rights Watch interview with camp resident, Bobi camp, Gulu, February 28, 2005.

[154] Human Rights Watch interview with camp resident, Bobi camp, Gulu, February 28, 2005.

[155] Martin Komakech, “The Northern Uganda Conflict, Civil Society Initiatives and Interventions, and Human Rights Focus (HURIFO) Operations in the Conflict-Zone,” HURIFO, November 14, 2003, (retrieved June 21, 2005).

[156] Human Rights Watch interview, Norwegian Refugee Council, Kitgum, March 1, 2005.

[157] Uganda constitution, articles 51 and 58.

[158] See Uganda Human Rights Commission, announcement, “Training of Trainers Workshop, 25
April-6 May, 2005,” (retrieved August 24, 2005), for sixty-five participants, including political commissars, intelligence and administrative officers of the UPDF.

[159] Uganda Constitution, article 53 (1-2).

[160] The UHRC has avoided speaking out forcefully about some contentious issues, such as the full scope of abuses committed by the UPDF in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and of human rights violations committed in the 2001 presidential and parliamentary elections.

[161] The UHRC has nevertheless issued decisions and reached conclusions critical of the government, particularly regarding torture and police brutality. .See UHRC, 6th Annual Report, November 2003 Chapter 2 at (retrieved June 24, 2005).

[162] UN Committee Against Torture, “Draft Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture: Uganda,”Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 19 of the Convention, Advanced Unedited Version,CAT/CO/34/UGA. Also see Human Rights Watch and Foundation for Human Rights Initiative’s submission to the Committee, “Concerns regarding Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Uganda,” May 2005,

[163] Human Rights Watch interview, Ogwal, Regional Human Rights Officer, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Gulu office, Gulu, March 1, 2005.

[164] Some commissioners already have heavy travel schedules that take them to other UHRC offices throughout Uganda.

[165] Human Rights Watch interview, Francis Ogwal, Regional Human Rights Officer, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Gulu office, Gulu, March 1, 2005.

[166] Uganda Human Rights Commission, 6th Annual Report, November 2003 (Kampala: UHRC, 2003), p.48, table 5.5. It is not clear how many of the one hundred are senior staff.

[167] See for example, “Uganda: ICC jeopardising local peace efforts – northern leaders,” IRIN, Gulu, March 25, 2005.

[168] The ICC does not issue indictments. The Office of the Prosecutor seeks arrest warrants from the Pre-Trial Chamber.

[169] This delegation included a member of parliament who has been a supporter of the ICC and its ratification by Uganda, MP Jacob Oulanyah, representing a mostly Acholi district in northern Uganda. Human Rights Watch interview, MP Jacob Oulanyah, Kampala, March 21, 2005.

[170] See “Joint Statement by ICC Chief Prosecutor and the visiting Delegation of Lango, Acholi, Iteso and Madi Community Leaders from Northern Uganda,” The Hague, April 16, 2005, (retrieved June 23, 2005).

[171] Human Rights Watch interview, MP Jacob Oulanyah, Kampala, March 21, 2005.

[172] President Museveni told IRIN on June 9, 2005, “The involvement of the ICC in hunting Kony is very important, mainly because it enables us to deal with Khartoum. Khartoum is fully aware of the consequences of dealing with somebody under the ICC’s indictment. If Kony is in Uganda or in the areas of Sudan where Khartoum has allowed us to operate, then we do not need assistance - we shall catch him ourselves. But if Kony goes deeper into Sudan, beyond where Sudan has allowed us to pursue him, we need the ICC’s assistance to get the Sudanese government to cooperate with us and help us to get him. That is why we need the ICC.” “Uganda: Interview with President Yoweri Museveni,” IRIN, Kampala, June 9, 2005, (retrieved June 24, 2005).

[173] “Uganda: Interview with ICC prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo,” IRIN, Nairobi, June 9, 2005. (retrieved June 23, 2005).

[174] “There are no atrocities committed by our soldiers. If there are atrocities committed, we punish them ourselves - the evidence of that is plenty. We have executed soldiers for killing people. But I would not mind if the ICC wanted to investigate [the Ugandan army]. They are more than welcome,” “Uganda: Interview with President Yoweri Museveni,” IRIN, Kampala, June 9, 2005, (retrieved June 24, 2005).

[175] Human Rights Watch interview, witness, West Ocetoke, Kitgum district, Uganda, April 3, 2004.

[176] Emmy Allio, “Norwegian Joins Bigombe in Peace Process,” New Vision, Kampala, May 25, 2005.

[177] Daniel Wallis, “Court probe undermines Uganda peace moves – mediators,” Reuters, Gulu, February 22, 2005.

[178] See, e.g., Refugee Law Project, Working Paper No. 15,  “Whose Justice? Perceptions of Uganda’s Amnesty Act 2000: the Potential for Conflict Resolution and Long-Term Reconciliation,” Kampala, February 2005, (retrieved June 24, 2005).

[179] Human Rights Watch interview, Prof. Tim Allen (London School of Economics), Kampala, March 9, 2005; Tim Allen, War and Justice in Northern Uganda: An Assessment of the International Criminal Court’s Intervention (Draft), Crisis States Research Centre, London School of Economics, London, February 2005, (retrieved July 4, 2005).

[180] Human Rights Watch interviews with victims, Gulu, Kitgum and Pader districts, February 25-March 7, 2005.

[181] Human Rights Watch interview, activist, Kampala, March 23, 2005.

[182] International Center for Transitional Justice and the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, “Forgotten Voices: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Peace and Justice in Northern Uganda” (July 2005), pp. 4-5.

[183] Tim Allen, War and Justice in Northern Uganda: An Assessment of the International Criminal Court’s Intervention (Draft), Crisis States Research Centre, London School of Economics, London, February 2005, p. 48, (retrieved July 4, 2005).

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