ICTJ Dispatch: Fernando Travesí on Uganda

6/13/2014

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More than six years after the formal end of the armed conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the government of Uganda, thousands of victims are still waiting for concrete measures to address the serious human rights violations they suffered.

A transitional justice policy has long been discussed in Uganda, but no real measures have yet been put in place to deal with the past. Some developments, particularly concerning reparations, are now raising some hopes for victims’ redress.

We talked to Fernando Travesí, ICTJ Deputy Program Director, upon his return from Uganda. In this interview with Hannah Dunphy, Travesí expresses concern for the institutional inability to materialize the theoretical debate into concrete measures, despite the strong demands for truth and redress from civil society.

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Travesí is concerned about the long time it is taking the Ugandan government to pass a transitional justice policy that has already gone through five different drafts.

“Significant time has passed,” says Travesí. “Transitional Justice in Uganda is spinning off in a theoretical, abstract debate which doesn’t bring anything concrete to the society or the victims."

During his mission in Uganda, Travesí met with civil society and international organizations, as well as government representatives. He highlights the strong claims victims expressed: “At this stage, truth and concrete measures of reparations are more important for the victims.”

Travesí fears that the upcoming presidential elections in 2016 might affect the chances for the government to commit to the passing and implementation of transitional justice measures. “If transitional justice makes its way to the political agenda it might be an opportunity,” he said, “but there’s a bit of a fatigue on the transitional justice debate, and maybe we are losing the momentum because nothing concrete has been delivered.”


Photo: Jinja Market, Uganda, 2005, via Flickr