Source: (2010) paper presented at the African Transitional Justice Research Network Workshop “Advocating Justice: Civil Society and Transitional Justice in Africa” 30–31 August 2010, Johannesburg, South Africa

This paper focuses on civil society organizations’ (CSOs) advocacy efforts in shaping the transitional justice terrain in Uganda. It explores a coalition of civil society organizations—the Coalition for Reconciliation in Uganda (CORU)—how it strategized, operated and succeeded in galvanizing support for and championing the cause for peace, justice and reconciliation in Uganda. What makes CORU an example of a proactive CSO coalition? How did it organize better than other CSO coalitions to survive non-governmental organization (NGO) funding politics and bureaucracy? What challenges did CORU face and how did it respond? What came out of CORU and lessons learnt? By sharing CORU’s experiences, some of the above questions might be addressed, but a whole range of other factors equally account for the current state of transitional justice as a discourse in Uganda. My aim is to demonstrate CORU as an example of proactive civil society organizations’ engagement with each other and with relevant stakeholders to push forward the unpopular transitional justice agenda in the prevailing context in Uganda. What can be considered CORU’s successes and weaknesses should be understood in light of the nature of the conflict in Uganda, the role of the state and other non-state actors and the local and international politics involved in the transitional justice debate in Uganda. (excerpt)


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