Alternative justice for victims in Uganda: learning from the impact of COVID-19 on the court system

Article


Kirabira, T. 2021. Alternative justice for victims in Uganda: learning from the impact of COVID-19 on the court system. Radical Review. 1, pp. 44-48.
AuthorsKirabira, T.
Abstract

The notion of a more “victim-centred” approach to peacebuilding and Transitional Justice (TJ), is increasingly emphasized in academic, legal and policy discourse. Unfortunately, this element is mostly lacking within the context of Uganda’s post war recovery and transition. This article attempts to strike a balance between retributive justice and reconciliation. Considering the challenges of achieving justice through the courts, including the COVID-19 disruptions, the article argues that by directly engaging survivors in alternative dispute resolution as a process embedded in plea-bargaining, the Courts can make accountability for atrocity crimes more “victim-centred”. This recommendation is radical, from an International Criminal Justice (ICJ) perspective, because redress through the courts is primarily about retribution or punishment of guilty parties, which a survivorcentred approach to plea bargaining might not always produce. The argument, however, is not to turn away from retributive justice. Rather, the claim is that it is ineffective for mass atrocities within specific contexts, on its own. Ultimately, a more radical approach is for criminal accountability mechanisms to preserve spaces that allow for reconciliation, through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Plea Bargaining. This proposed approach is meant to specifically address atrocity violence during periods of transition, which would be interpreted as radical in the context of ICJ.

KeywordsTransitional Justice; International Criminal Justice; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Uganda; Victims
JournalRadical Review
Journal citation1, pp. 44-48
Year2021
PublisherCollaborative Social Change
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Anyone
Web address (URL)https://www.collaborativesocialchange.org/radical-review
Publication dates
Online28 Jun 2021
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Feb 2024
Copyright holder© 2021, Collaborative Social Change
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