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‘The cooling of hearts’: Community truth-telling in Northern Uganda.

Anyeko, Ketty
June 4, 2015

Source: (2012) Human Rights Review. 13;107-124.

Recent national and international debates on truth and reconciliation in
Uganda have emphasized the importance of incorporating local-level mechanisms
into a national transitional justice strategy. The Juba Peace Talks represented an
opportunity to develop and articulate sufficient and just alternatives and complementary mechanisms to the international criminal model. The most commonly
debated mechanism is the Acholi process known as mato oput (drinking the bitter
root), a restorative justice approach to murder. Drawing on 2 months of research in
nine internally displaced persons’ camps in 2007, we examine local justice practices
in the region of northern Uganda to consider their potential, promise and pitfalls to
realizing a successful truth-telling process. We find that although local mechanisms
could help facilitate reconciliation in the region, truth-telling is but one part of a
conciliatory process complicated by a national context of fear and the complexity of
the victim–perpetrator identity at the community level. These locally informed
insights help move forward the debate on such mechanisms in Uganda and add
useful insights into community processes in the field of transitional justice more
generally. (authors’ abstract)


AbstractAfricaCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in SchoolsStatutes and Legislation
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