Transitional justice and democracy in Uganda: between impetus and instrumentalisation


Arnould, V. 2015. Transitional justice and democracy in Uganda: between impetus and instrumentalisation. Journal of Eastern African Studies. 9 (3), pp. 354-374.
AuthorsArnould, V.

While claims abound regarding transitional justice’s importance for democracy building in transitioning countries, empirical investigations of these remain limited or have produced contradictory findings. This article seeks to contribute to these debates by investigating the relationship between transitional justice and democratic institution-building in Uganda – looking in particular at the rule of law, the security forces and participation. It does so by exploring the causal mechanisms linking transitional justice to democracy, that is, the means through which transitional justice exerts its impact. Transitional justice is widely expected to impact democratic institution-building through three mechanisms: (de)legitimation, reform, and empowerment. However, this article finds that in Uganda, transitional justice’s impact through these is more circumscribed than has so far been assumed, and that it sometimes impacts democratic institution-building negatively. The Ugandan experience furthermore suggests that in contexts of armed conflict and a hybrid regime, expectations about the extent to which transitional justice can support democratic institution-building should be lowered.

JournalJournal of Eastern African Studies
Journal citation9 (3), pp. 354-374
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Web address (URL)
Publication dates
Print22 Oct 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Nov 2015
Accepted18 Aug 2015
FunderEconomic and Social Research Council
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Eastern African Studies on 22.10.15, available online:
Permalink -

Download files

  • 83
    total views
  • 541
    total downloads
  • 4
    views this month
  • 8
    downloads this month

Export as