2Main objectives of the NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 5 : Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditMain objectives of the NR&TJ AuditTo document community perspectives on post-independence armed conflicts across UgandaTo identify and assess the outstanding reconciliation and transitional justice needs related to each of these conflicts
3Methodology NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5 : Soroti District Three field teams comprising four researchers and one videographer visit twenty-one selected districts equally distributed over the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central regions in Uganda.In each district, concerned civil society organisations are contacted. The teams conduct Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with four different groups namely adult women, adult men, youth and representatives of civil society and local government.There are fifteen participants in each FGD and the discussions take the whole day. FGDs are split into two parts, and follow a simple structure: The morning is spent ‘Looking Back’, at conflicts, their causes, their impacts, and the stakeholders involved, while the afternoon is for “Looking Forward” at the possible justice mechanisms that could be used to address the legacies of conflicts identified – as well as sending messages to key persons and institutions.In the course of each FGD, key informants are identified for further consultation. Findings are recorded on flip charts, through near-verbatim note taking, and on audio- and video recorders.Preliminary Findings are presented initially in these Briefs. The final output will be a Compendium of Conflicts in Uganda, supported by video documentation.
4PART 1: LOOKING BACK Focus Group Discussion Guide NR&TJ Audit BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditFocus Group Discussion GuidePART 1: LOOKING BACKA. Is there peace in Uganda? Conflict Timeline (national/regional/district/village)B. What were the Causes behind the conflicts you have identified?C. What were the Impacts?D. Who were the Stakeholders?VictimsPerpetratorsBeneficiaries- BystandersSpoilersPeacebuilders
5Focus Group Discussion Guide BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditFocus Group Discussion GuidePART 2: LOOKING FORWARDWELCOME BACK- Reminder of purpose of second half: from looking back to looking forwardA. How does it feel to be talking about the history of this country?RECONCILIATIONTRADITIONAL JUSTICEAMNESTYTRUTH-TELLINGPROSECUTIONSB. 1. What does JUSTICE mean to you?2. Has JUSTICE been done to the stakeholders? How do you think justice can be done? What would you like to see in the following processes?MEMORIALIZATIONPSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORTREPARATIONSCHANGES IN LAW / INSTITUTIONSC. What Messages do you have for key persons and/or institutions?
6NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5 : Soroti District District Information Soroti, formerly known as Teso District, was one of the original ten districts that were in existence in 1962 when Uganda gained Independence. In the 1970s, Teso District was divided into North Teso and South Teso to ease administration. In 1980 these districts changed their names to Soroti and Kumi Districts respectively. Soroti District is bordered by Amuria District to the north, Katakwi District to the east, Ngora District to the southeast, Serere District to the south, and Kaberamaido District to the west. The two predominant ethnicities in the district are the Iteso and the Kumam. The main languages spoken are: Ateso, Kumam and Swahili. According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), Soroti District covers an area of 3,379 sq km with a total projected population of 369,621.Soroti District has experienced various armed civil conflicts as well as cattle raids by the neighbouring Karimojong that date back to pre-colonial times.Map of Uganda showing DistrictsAccessed at
7Soroti District map NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5 : Soroti District Accessed at
8Introduction NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5 : Soroti District This field brief is based on data collected from Tabur Sub County and Soroti Town in Soroti District from 8 to 12 November Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were held with adult women, men, youths, civil society and local government officials. The preliminary findings below reflect opinions expressed in all the FGDs and key informant interviews.The field brief reflects conflict perspectives and opinions as narrated by the FGD participants and are not necessarily those of the Refugee Law Project (RLP) or its funders.This briefing note was written by Okot Benard Kasozi with valuable input from Annelieke van de Wiel and Kari Griffiths, all of the RLP. The research team comprised of Veve Richard, Wamimbi Jimmy, Mabonga Hellen, Opiny Shafic and Okot Bernard Kasozi as team leader.
9BRIEF 5 : Soroti District NR&TJ AuditLOOKING BACKPast
10Is there peace in Uganda? BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditIs there peace in Uganda?The majority of the participants agreed that Uganda is not at peace because past mistakes have been passed on from one regime to another, causing more conflicts and human suffering. There are still on-going unresolved conflicts in Uganda such as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency and the Karimojong cattle raids. Additionally, the economic and political situation in the country is appalling and there seems to be a severe deficit in the delivery of social services, translating into poor standards of living, ill health and subsequent deaths.Aside from internal conflicts, male participants argued that Uganda is at high risk of attack from neighbouring countries.Participants gave the example of the Al-Shabab bomb blasts in 2010 in Kampala in which many people died.According to the participants the factors listed above have contributed to a lack of peace in Uganda.“The Government of Uganda is taking away our soldiers to Somalia and this makes us a target for Al-Shabab. All over the news we hear that Al-Shabab are targeting Uganda because our troops are in Somalia.”Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
11Conflicts Timeline: National Level BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditConflicts Timeline: National LevelThe participants revealed that Uganda, and the Teso Sub Region specifically, have experienced numerous armed conflicts, conflicts with nature, violence from the Government of Uganda armed forces, and socio-economic suffering. The participants mentioned the following conflicts that Uganda experienced at national level:1966197119791980198519862010Kabaka crisis (1966):Conflict arose between Sir Apollo Milton Obote, who was the Head of Government, and the Kabaka of Buganda, who was the President. The conflict culminated with the storming of the Kabaka’s palace by armed soldiers. The attack was led by Idi Amin Dada, who was Obote’s army commander, under the direction of Obote. This crisis was bloody and claimed many lives, deposed the Kabaka into exile, sowed seeds of tribalism and set a platform for future leaders to use force in dealing with mistrust and differences. The event was further noted as the first post-Independence blunder in the history of Uganda where the Government used arms on its own civilians to settle differences/conflicts.Amin’s coup d’état against Obote’s Government (1971):During the Kabaka crisis, Amin learnt how to use guns to settle differences. As a result, in 1971 when Obote was away in Singapore attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, Amin staged a coup d’etat. He later became the Head of State in 1971 and ruled until 1979.Overthrow of Amin by the coalition of Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) and Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) (1979):In 1979 a combination of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) with the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) fought and overpowered the dictatorial and tyrannical regime of Amin that had plunged the country into total insecurity and had resulted in a complete absence of the rule of law.Contested election (1980):In December 1980 there was a general election organised by the then Chairman of the Military Commission and acting President Paul Muwanga. The results of the election were contested by other parties that participated, citing massive election malpractice. The parties that participated in this election included Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) under Obote, Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) under Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Democratic Party under Paul Kawanga Ssemwogere and Conservative Party (CP). This prompted the UPM candidate (Museveni) to go to the bush in protest and to form the National Resistance Army (NRA) that fought the Government of Obote II and Tito Okello Lutwa from 1981 to 1986.Tito Okello Lutwa military coup (1985):In 1985, one of Obote’s commanders Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa overthrew Obote in a military coup, a case of history repeating itself. Obote’s second regime had been marked by disunity both within the army and among the civilian population.NRA military take-over and rise of insurgencies (1986):In 1986, the NRA under the command of Museveni captured power through a military take-over ousting the military junta of Tito Okello Lutwa. This marked the emergence of many regional conflicts in different parts of the country, including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Uganda People’s Democratic Army (UPDA), Holy Spirit Movement (HSM), Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Uganda People´s Army (UPA).Kampala bomb blasts (11 July 2010):On 11 July 2010 terrorists bombs in an Ethiopian restaurant in Kabalagala and at Lugogo Rugby club killed and injured many people. Following the bomb blasts, there have been repeated threats of further attacks by Al-Shabab. This reveals the fact that there is no peace or stability in Uganda.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
12Conflicts Timeline: National Level (cont.) BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditConflicts Timeline: National Level (cont.)Conflicts without guns at national level1966198620102012Tribalism (1966 to date):Tribalism was also noted as being a very serious issue in the country that has divided people. Participants noted with concern that the issue of tribalism has become chronic and that it affects most regions.Corruption (1986 to date):Corruption was also identified by the participants as one of the key problems affecting Ugandan society and threatening the peace of many Ugandans. They said this kind of corruption has always created big gaps in social service delivery, directly affecting communities.Inflation (2010 to date):Inflation was viewed as a conflict at the national level since it affects all sections of the community with a particularly grave impact on poor people. The persistent increase in prices of essential commodities led to the emergence of pressure groups against the Government and the ‘Walk to Work’ campaign that continues to destabilise peace and businesses in many parts of the country.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
13Conflicts Timeline: Village/Household BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditConflicts Timeline: Village/Household1986200320052012Poverty ( to date):Poverty is said to have started in 1986 when the Iteso were experiencing intense brutality from both the NRA that had just captured power and from the Karimojong that had intensified raids in the whole of Teso sub-region. In addition, poverty increased in 2003 due to the mass displacement of people into IDP camps at the hands of the LRA. Formerly self-sufficient communities became dependant on aid whilst in the IDP camps.Domestic Violence (2003 – to date):Domestic violence intensified when people were displaced into IDP camps in In the camps, husbands were not able to provide for their families resulting in frustration, poverty and alcohol abuse. This in turn increased the rate of divorce and single parent households.Defilement (2003 – to date):Defilement was also said to be common in villages. This was attributed to a lack of morals and loss of culture when people were displaced into IDP camps. This has caused wrangles among affected families who are seeking justice. Defilement is also attributed to poverty as girls are easily lured into sex with money.Theft and robbery ( to date):Theft and robbery are rampant in villages as a result of poverty that was attributed to the conflicts experienced in the district. This has created insecurity in the community.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
14Conflicts Timeline: Regional Level BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditConflicts Timeline: Regional Level1953198719881993200320052012Karimojong Raids (1953 – to date):The conflict between the Karimojong and the Iteso is a serious historical problem but it remains unresolved since the Karimojong continue to raid and steal Iteso cattle and property. The Karimojong are said to be the major cause of instability, displacement and poverty in Teso Sub Region as a result of their continued attacks on the Iteso and the lack of adequate protection and solutions from the Government of Uganda.Force Obote Back Again (FOBA) (1987):FOBA was a rebel group that started to fight the NRA Government in 1987 to bring Obote back to power. The rebel group was most active in eastern Uganda and was concentrated in Teso land. Tororo was also affected. This group changed its name to Uganda People’s Army (UPA). The name was changed to make it sound more inclusive as FOBA was criticised for being too tribalistic.The Holy Spirit Movement (HSM) ( ):Alice Auma Lakwena was the leader of the Holy Spirit Movement that started in Kitgum District and later spread to eastern Uganda. In Soroti District, the HSM was based in Tubur Sub-County. This group was engaged in brainwashing the community to join them in a fight to oust the NRA Government. Participants mentioned that they were not violent against civilians and they would only attack army barracks.Uganda People’s Army (UPA) ( ):All participants mentioned that the formation of the UPA was strongly supported by the Iteso community in 1987, as the security and human rights situation in Teso had become desperate. Although there was a functioning government in power at the time, they were reluctant to provide protection to the Iteso community and their property from the raids of the Karimojong. As a result, the UPA rebellion, led by Major General Moses Eregu (aka Papa One/Hitler) emerged. The civilian/logistical arm of the UPA, the UPF, was led by Peter Otai. Much as UPA/UPF gained overwhelming support from the community during its initial stage of formation, it lost credibility when the UPA started to kill and displace civilians. The rebellion ended in 1993 through a peace process.The major challenge now stems from the need for reconciliation between former UPA fighters who have been pardoned under the Amnesty Act, and the community. The former fighters are now living in the community they terrorised. The people of Soroti are agitating for a community pardon of ex-rebels. However, the participants maintained that they will only forgive the ex-rebels after they apologise to the community for the atrocities they committed against them..The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) (2003):In 2003 the Lord’s Resistance Army staged an incursion into Teso. This was a huge impediment to peace in the region as the LRA combatants were involved in committing grave human rights abuses including but not limited to: rape of girls and women, forceful conscription into rebel ranks, mass displacement of the civilian population into Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and mass abduction of children. Many female participants wept during the focus group discussion and demanded for justice. To them justice means primarily the return of the children who were abducted and the remains of those who were killed while in captivity.Land conflicts, poisoning and witchcraft ( to date):The participants revealed that the LRA operation in Teso resulted in huge problems with regard to land that was abandoned when people were forced into IDP camps. When the formerly displaced people returned to their villages, many found their land had been taken away or occupied by their neighbours. This has caused frustration, anger and violence as well as biting poverty in face of an absence of appropriate structures and mechanisms for amicably settling disputes. As a result, many poor people have resorted to poisoning and witchcraft to settle differences/conflicts with one another, since both formal and traditional justice mechanisms have loopholes when it comes to achieving ‘justice’. Other participants mentioned that they cannot afford the costs associated with the formal justice system.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
15Conflicts Timeline: District Level BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditConflicts Timeline: District Level19902012Natural disasters ( 1990s to date):The district suffers from floods during the wet season and droughts during the dry season. These natural disasters are said to have greatly affected livelihoods in Soroti District as the floods have destroyed food and displaced people. The food insecurity, dependency on aid and increased theft in the region can be attributed to the floods.People in Soroti currently experience displacement from both natural disasters and manmade conflicts putting them in a precarious position. They argue that the Government has done very little to address the problems they face. In the past this led to the formation of the UPA and at present the majority of the participants demand that the Head of State in 2016 should come from Teso. They lamented that Presidents in Uganda have always hailed from regions other than Teso and were adamant that come 2016, it is time for an Iteso to rule the country to finally deal with the region’s problems that have up to now been left unaddressed.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
16Causes & Impacts Causes Impacts NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditCauses & ImpactsOverstaying in power by PresidentsUnemploymentGovernment brutality and failure to protectCausesDroughts and floodsJuju (witchcraft)Desire to become richDesire for revengeNRA brutalityLooting of propertyDisunity between tribesImpactsDisplacementMassacresPlease remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
17Causes of conflicts NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District Participants in Soroti District identified the following as major causes of conflicts in Uganda:Government brutality and failure to protect: The UPA rebel group was formed as a result of a lack of Government protection of the Iteso and their property from the Karimojong raids, as well as growing NRA brutality.Overstaying in power by Presidents: Presidents have been known to extend their terms in office due to greed and fear of facing justice as a result of their involvement in human rights violations.Juju (witchcraft): Witchcraft is used for getting money and protecting land from land grabbers. It caused some landowners to flee their land as witches turned against them, raping their women and causing them to be displaced from their land again. Some people use it to charm or poison those they are in conflict with, adding to distrust within the community.Droughts and floods: The district has to face droughts in the dry season and floods in the wet season that often cut off many villages from accessing social services.Desire to become rich: A desire to be wealthy forces rebels to fight for power and loot property.Desire for revenge: Communities affected by conflict have an attitude of vengeance with regard to the individuals and communities that harmed them. Through the UPA, for example, the Iteso revenged on the Karimojong. Those whose families were affected by the NRA also joined the UPA for revenge. Participants also remembered how people from West Nile were targeted by the Acholi after Amin’s downfall.Poverty and unemployment: As a result of poverty and unemployment, people use violent means, such as looting, theft and joining or forming rebel groups, to get basic needs.Dissatisfaction with the Government: Dissatisfaction with the Government due to - for example - failure to fulfil promises to citizens causes resentment and desire for regime change. This leads to the formation of pressure groups aimed at overthrowing the Government.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
18Impacts of conflicts NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District According to the participants, the conflicts mentioned above have affected the people of Soroti District in profound ways as mentioned below (CLICK Once!):Abduction of children by the LRANRA brutality: In 1986, some NRA soldiers who wore caps and covered their heads with leaves abducted 18 children from Tubur Sub County in Soroti and killed all of them. The NRA also caused the death of people in a train wagon at Mukura in 1989Displacement: Karimojong, LRA and UPA rebels displaced many people into IDP campsMassacres: The LRA massacred many civilians, for example in Obalanga, Soroti District in 2003.Looting of property: Massive looting of property was done by both LRA and Karimojong warriorsDeprivation of people’s economic livelihood: The NRA and Karimojong looted cattle in Teso rendering the community dependent on foreign aidWidespread HIV/AIDS infections increased when the NRA and LRA raped women and girls. The lifestyle led by many people in the IDP camps further contributed to the rise in HIV/AIDS infectionsDestruction of schools and looting of health centres such as Ochorcia Health Centre in Soroti by the LRADisunity between tribes: There are tensions between the Acholi and Iteso, and Iteso and Karimojong because of atrocities committed by LRA and raids by Karimojong respectivelyIncrease in trauma and post traumatic reactions as a result of experiences and participation in conflictsInsecurity as a result of the operation of the Karimojong in Soroti DistrictIncreased prices of commodities: Prices of commodities started to increase during Amin's regime as a result of the expulsion of Asians who owned most businesses. After they were expelled, a black market developed, essential commodities were horded and trade sanctions were imposed by international bodies on Uganda between 1972 and 1979Widespread possession of illegal guns is a result of past rebel operations in Teso. The weapons are now used to rob the locals.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
19STAKEHOLDERS Conflicts NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 Victims BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictSTAKEHOLDERSNR&TJ AuditSpoilersPeace BuildersConflictsBeneficiariesBy-standersVictimsPlease remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
20Victims STAKEHOLDERS NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District Owing to the different conflicts that took place in the region, some categories of people found themselves victims of more than one conflict (CLICK once!).Women were raped by soldiers from various rebel groups. Many became widows as their husbands were killedChildren were abducted by various rebel groups while others became orphans as their parents were killed. This led to an increase in child-headed familiesElderly men, women and persons with disabilities were unable to run away from rebels so some were burnt in their houses and diedMad people were killed by fightersStudents travelling to schools and business persons were killed by fighters in ambushesArrow boys were killed during cross fire with the LRAAbductees suffered all sorts of brutality and tortureKarimojong were also killed.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
21Perpetrators NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District The participants categorized the perpetrators according to the magnitude of their actions (CLICK once!).National Resistance Army (NRA) killed many people in a train wagon at Mukura in 1989 and bombed cattle and people using military helicopters called sura mbaya (“bad appearance”)The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) abducted children, raped girls, attacked heath centres, engaged in indiscriminate killing and displaced civilians into IDP campsThe Karimojong looted and raided cattle of the Teso people thereby robbing them of their livelihoods. They also raped women, burnt houses and displaced many people into IDP campsUganda People’s Army (UPA) killed peace mediators and civilians, looted property of community members and displaced the people of Teso from their homes into IDP campsHoly Spirit Movement (HSM)/Lakwena infiltrated Teso in 1987 and conscripted civilians and child soldiers, brainwashing people to follow her. The whereabouts of many of these people, or their remains, is still unknownErego, who was the leader of UPA ordered the killings and other atrocities in SorotiAmama Mbabazi and Gilbert Bukenya stole public funds meant for rehabilitation of the regionOther perpetratorsMarried men and women have perpetrated domestic violenceClan leaders have also been perpetrators of land conflicts because they have not been impartial and open to addressing clan and family issuesYouth have been used to perpetrate land conflictsThieves stole properties under the disguise of being rebelsOpposition leaders such as Besigye who incited people to participate in the ‘Walk to Work’ campaign.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
22By-standers NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District (CLICK once!).Soldiers would just sit instead of fighting but they would get paid full salariesElders sometimes do not want to tell the truth about land boundariesPolice are the first people to receive information, yet they do not always act upon itPoliticians were targeted by rebels and they feared speaking the truth, as they did not want to annoy either the Government or the rebelsChurch leaders did not forward problems in the community to the GovernmentLocal council leaders ran away to town when they heard rebels were coming, without passing on the informationIntelligence networks obtained information about rebel movements but kept quiet, out of fearUN Agencies were supporting the rebels and Government forces, based on the principle of neutrality, instead of supporting the victimsThe community would not report cases of rebel movements and defilement cases to police as they feared retaliationAmerica did nothing to stop the LRA war or eliminate the LRAPolice are not impartial when dealing with cases such as land wrangles and defilement.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
23BRIEF 5: Soroti District NR&TJ Audit(CLICK once!).The LRA pulled out of the Juba Peace TalksKony himself did not take the Juba Peace Talks seriously as he continued to fight during the peace talksKarimojong continued their raids despite openings for peace dialogueThieves stole and looted property and set up ambushes along roads, causing insecurity in homes and on the roadsAmbassadors from outside were ill-advising both Kony and the Government because of their interest in the conflictPoliticians did not take a firm stand on any issue relating to the various conflictsMembers of opposition were inciting people to riot and demonstrate against the GovernmentProstitutes acted as rebel spies.SpoilersPlease remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
24Beneficiaries NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District (CLICK once!).Thieves disguised as LRA rebels would steal the property of displaced peopleThe educated people used names of the affected people and got funds from donorsGovernment received donations under the disguise of assisting the affected people. The money was diverted to personal accounts of army commanders and President MuseveniReligious leaders used victims to raise funds that benefited them instead of the rightful beneficiariesThe soldiers who were deployed to fight the LRA were getting huge salaries and allowancesKarimojong benefited from the raidsKony benefited from the looting of people’s propertyNRM and UPDF also financially benefited from the conflictsLakwena who was the leader of HSM took food from many people’s gardensLeaders such as Echweru who led the Arrow Boys benefited.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
25Peace Builders NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District (CLICK once!).NGOs such as World Vision who participated in the peace talksThe church as an institution and its leaders who prayed against the LRA rebels and yielded success as Kony was wiped out of Teso regionGovernment gave amnesty to UPA rebels thus paving way for peaceThe political leaders of Teso Sub Region such as Members of Parliament and the local councils played a big role in agitating for peaceLocal councillors sensitised people about peaceThe cultural leaders of Teso were agitating for peace talksThe police arrested thieves and thugsWomen activists were advocating for peace and justice for womenThe children were being used as ambassadors of peaceThe Arrow Boys and UPDF soldiers fought the LRAPersonalities such as Musa Ecweru and Mike Mukula.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
26BRIEF 5: Soroti District NR&TJ AuditLOOKING FORWARDFuture
27Perspectives on Justice BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditPerspectives on JusticeThe majority of participants felt the recollection and narration of past violence was painful but important for rebuilding peace in Uganda. They said memory can act as an avenue to learn and can be used for sustainable peace building. Participants discussed whether and how justice was done to the main perpetrators of violence:UPA: The majority said that justice has not been done to UPA perpetrators. The community claims that the Government forgave the UPA rebels by pardoning them and integrating them into the Government (e.g. Musa Ecweru, Max Omeda, current RDC of Serere District and Colonel Omeria) yet the people affected at the grassroots level are angry with these people and their families and close relatives.The majority of the participants, especially men, women and members of CSOs, said that since the motives of the UPA were supported by the Iteso at the beginning, they feel the former fighters, especially the commanders, should organize a forum and apologise to the community members for all the atrocities they committed in Teso land. This would appease the aggrieved community and pave the way for reconciliation and a harmonious co-existence.Participants acknowledged the fact that some of the brains behind the rebellion such as Major General Moses Eregu died in exile and escaped from justice. He did, however, leave behind a family who should pay for his sins. The participants underscored the need for reconciliation such that the community does not transfer their anger onto the children and grandchildren of people like Moses Eregu.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
28Perspectives on Justice (c0nt.) BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditPerspectives on Justice (c0nt.)Karimojong: The Karimojong continue to terrorise the people of Teso, through the raiding of cattle and property. The participants complained that the Government has not restocked the cattle lost in the raids. The Karimojong have not reconciled with the Iteso over wrongs committed nor have they apologised. Justice has not been done.LRA: No justice has been done despite the Kwoyelo trial and the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Kony and some of his senior commanders. The whereabouts of many children who were abducted are still not known. The LRA and the Acholi have not apologised or sought to reconcile with the Teso people and the affected communities.NRA: No perpetrator has been prosecuted for the atrocities committed in Teso. Additionally, the compensation of victims from the Mukura train bombings was not adequate and the Government did not directly accept responsibility. To date, there is still inadequate protection of the population from the Karimojong although the UPDF together with local militia (Arrow boys) fought the LRA out of Teso land.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
29Transitional Justice Mechanisms BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditTransitional Justice MechanismsTruth-TellingReconciliationParticipants expressed their openness to and desire for reconciliation at the sub regional level between the Iteso and neighbouring communities such as the Acholi and Karimojong. Participants mentioned a few dynamics and initiatives that have started to reconcile the victims and the perpetrators such as intermarriages, exchange visits, dialogue, mediation and inter-trade between the affected communities. However, such attempts have been undermined by the continued perpetration of conflicts especially by the Karimojong and, above all, the lack of strong and genuine support from the Government.The participants demand truth-telling from perpetrators of violence, such as President Museveni on behalf of the NRA, Joseph Kony on behalf of LRA and the Karimojong to pave way for genuine reparations and reconciliation.The participants revealed that all the people mentioned above committed a number of atrocities both in the open and in the dark that led to the death or disappearance of loved ones whose whereabouts are still not known.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
30Transitional Justice Mechanisms BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditTransitional Justice MechanismsPsychological trauma is a problem among the Iteso, yet the Government tends to ignore this psychosocial aspect when establishing recovery programmes and policies.The participants mentioned that the experience of numerous conflicts in Soroti District has left people with serious behavioural issues. These vices include: rampant killing and urge to kill, high emotional temperaments, mental illness, family depression, prolonged grief and anger and pain associated with losses incurred during the conflicts.The Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) is the only organisation providing psychosocial and mental health support to victims.The participants unanimously acknowledged that there has been stagnation in institutions in Uganda as a result of interference from the top leadership, making it difficult to initiate positive reforms independent from political interests.Psychosocial SupportInstitutional ReformsPlease remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
31Transitional Justice Mechanisms BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditTransitional Justice MechanismsIn addition to the need for compensation and symbolic reparations such as commemoration, construction of monuments, and memorials, vocational schools in remembrance of people massacred or killed during the wars, the participants expressed a need to remember the domestic animals lost to Karimojong raids and the rebels. They want this done through a mass restocking of cattle by the Government to preserve and aid the healing and reconciliation processes.The majority feel that whoever denounces armed rebellion should be given amnesty indiscriminately and the beneficiaries should undergo rehabilitation to foster their acceptance and reintegration into the community.The participants expressed the need for the Government to consult the victims and the communities on issues pertaining to amnesty so that the beneficiaries are forgiven at both a Government and community level.AmnestyMemorializationPlease remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
32Transitional Justice Mechanisms BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditTransitional Justice MechanismsTraditional JusticeProsecutionThe participants expressed that there is need for the Government to strengthen the weak traditional justice mechanisms to handle conflicts beyond clan level, to support peace building and reconciliation processes in Soroti District.Prosecution is good for bringing justice but it is being abused in Uganda because prosecution processes are associated with corruption, bribery and political influence especially from the Executive arm of Government.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
33Transitional Justice Mechanisms BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditTransitional Justice MechanismsAccountabilityThe participants expressed an overwhelming need for accountability over wrongs committed through not only prosecuting the perpetrators but also through apology, reconciliation and compensation.The participants argued that the major reason why perpetrators always try to evade accountability is because of the biased and unjust prosecution processes, and the lack of protection mechanisms for those who come out openly to account for wrongs committed.It was said that, as a result of the failure to initiate positive reforms in formal justice processes and protection schemes, people will not be held accountable and the victims will continue to suffer the consequences.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
34Messages to Leaders/Institutions BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditMessages to Leaders/InstitutionsThe following were the key messages the participants sent to the different identified stakeholders in the various conflicts:Kizza BesigyeStop ‘Walk to Work’, we don’t want to die for your personal interests.(CLICK once!).The PresidentWe the widows are requesting you to pay our children’s school fees because we lost our husbands during the warDeal with Kony once and for all so that we experience peaceTransform the lives of affected families that lost their dear ones in the war and those who lost their wealth to LRA, Karimojong and NRATeso was heavily affected by Kony so please ensure that he does not come back to our land againWe want to be educated like those [people] in MbararaFulfil the promises you gave during the campaigns about providing compensation for our lost propertiesWe want to be treated like the people from Western Uganda.Amama MbabaziBring back the money you embezzled from the oil deals, stop misappropriating tax payers money.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
35Messages to Leaders/Institutions(cont.) BRIEF 5: Soroti DistrictNR&TJ AuditMessages to Leaders/Institutions(cont.)Message to other actors were:CommunityForgive the Government for what they did to us such as negligence, abuse and violations of human rights.(CLICK once!).The GovernmentDisarm the KarimojongTrace the whereabouts of children abducted by Kony and bring them back homeIn memory of what happened in Tubur Sub County (HSM, UPDA, LRA and Karimojong), we would like to see a vocational school constructed to support war orphans to become self-reliant. This will also stop them from thinking of revengeCompensate us for our animals raided by the Karimojong and the NRAGive amnesty to all the perpetrators such as Kony and the KarimojongReconcile the Itesots and KarimojongsWe need equal distribution of resourcesGovernment should reduce corruption because it is causing so many problems in UgandaBuild a university in Teso as we have been asking for it for a long timeReinstate term limits.God:Forgive all the perpetrators.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
36Recommendations NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District (CLICK once!).The participants made the following recommendations to address the various conflicts and their legacies:Establish a national policy framework on reparationsReconcile the former rebels of UPA and the local communitiesEstablish a sub-regional reconciliation processes to mend broken relationships caused by conflicts between the Acholi and Iteso and Iteso and KarimojongFulfill the promises made to the people. Comprehensively disarm the Karimojong as a way of stopping cattle raidsMemorials in the form of schools and vocational centres should be built in Soroti to acknowledge and remember the violent experiences of the Iteso communityEstablish a cattle restocking program for Teso since the people suffered multiple losses of cattle from many armed groups including the Government (NRA)Compensate families of community members (Arrow Boys) who offered voluntary protection services but were killed in the processUrgently fight corruption in all the institutionsThe Judiciary should be independent and free from any kind of influence, such as bribes.Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues.
37Acknowledgements NR&TJ Audit 2011 -2012 BRIEF 5: Soroti District The RLP is very grateful for the contributions made by different individuals and organizations towards the success of the National Reconciliation & Transitional Justice Audit Research in Soroti District. We are particularly indebted to the Teso Peace Initiative, Justice and Peace Commission, Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU), Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI), Teso Development Organization (TEDO), Iteso Cultural Union, Teso Elderly Persons Service Organization, Teso Women Peace Activist (TEWPA), Hope After Rape and Teso Widow Development Initiative (TWIDI).Further appreciation goes to Peter Elogu for the excellent mobilization of participants and interpretation during FGDs in Tubur Sub-County. Finally, our greatest appreciation goes to all our FGD participants and interviewees for sparing a whole day to actively participate in the discussions and to the Swedish International Development Agency and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for providing financial support for this research.Presentation prepared by Opiny Shaffic, with inputs from Chris Dolan, Annelieke van de Wiel, Moses Alfred Nsubuga and edits by Angella Nabwowe.