Source: (2009) Working Paper No. 1. Kampala, Uganda: Human Rights and Peace Centre.

The findings from this study suggest that traditional justice practices have both national and local relevance, and could contribute immensely toward addressing both the legacies of the major conflicts in the region and day-to-day social infractions. Traditional justice practices, though practiced with variable frequency, are widely respected in principle, and their value highlighted the shortcomings of the formal justice process in its ability to deliver in an accessible fashion. From the research, there was both a desire for increased application of the practices at a local level, and an implicit desire for the principles of this system to be reflected in national transitional justice and potential reforms in Uganda’s basic legal structures. While a local accountability and reconciliation mechanism on its own would struggle to address the abuses committed by the Ugandan government forces during the conflicts in Acholi, Lango and Teso, national mechanisms which have no local roots are unlikely to be sufficiently accessible or responsive to the needs of the affected communities. This therefore suggests that a multi-tiered approach to transitional justice with national, regional and local mechanisms will be necessary if the legacy of conflicts in the three regions is to be appropriately addressed and indeed if the national legal system were to reflect communal values. The question then becomes how the five principles identified by this research could be integrated into a national transitional justice process. (excerpt)