Jun 2012

Since 2000, the Amnesty Act has been one of the crucial tools employed by the Ugandan Government to end the conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army. More than 12,000 former abductees have benefited from amnesty and abandoned rebellion.

The Amnesty Act has a crucial role to play in efforts to build peace in the region

The recent decision by the Uganda Government to lapse Section II of the Amnesty, which effectively ends the Amnesty Act in Uganda, has raised concerns among civil society actors.

The decision appears to be based of three main assumptions:

  • that Uganda’s rebellions are over;
  • that informal amnesty can still continue without Part II of the Act; and,
  • that the Amnesty Act violates Ugandan and other laws.

One of the misunderstandings that is spreading is that individuals will continue to obtain amnesty on a case-by-case basis. Our partners are concerned that this is simply not true.

Part II of the Amnesty Act is all of the amnesty; if it's gone, that's it.

Furthermore, there is no longer the possibility of a Presidential Amnesty in Uganda. Any pardons that exist can only come after a person has been tried and convicted.

This is unfortunate development given that the war has not ended, but displaced to the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic. Current strategies to end the conflict, including the US strategy and the African Union/United Nations strategy, among others, relies on messaging for individuals in the bush to abandon rebellion.

Without amnesty as a tool, even these efforts will be futile.

In their efforts to work together to reach a just and lasting peace, our partners are calling for the re-instatement of the Amnesty Act.

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