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NATIONAL RECONCILIATION & TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AUDIT BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012 BRIEF 2 : ADJUMANI DISTRICT.

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Presentation on theme: "NATIONAL RECONCILIATION & TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AUDIT BEYOND JUBA PROJECT www.beyondjubaproject.org 2011 -2012 BRIEF 2 : ADJUMANI DISTRICT."— Presentation transcript:

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2 NATIONAL RECONCILIATION & TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AUDIT BEYOND JUBA PROJECT BRIEF 2 : ADJUMANI DISTRICT

3 NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District To document community perspectives on post- independence armed conflicts across Uganda To identify and assess the outstanding reconciliation and transitional justice needs related to each of these conflicts

4 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 NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

5 PART 1: LOOKING BACK A. Is Uganda at peace? 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? - Victims - Perpetrators - Beneficiaries - Bystanders - Spoilers - Peacebuilders NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

6 WELCOME BACK - Reminder of purpose of second half: from looking back to looking forward PART 2: LOOKING FORWARD A. How does it feel to be talking about the history of this country? B. 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? C. What Messages do you have for key persons and/or institutions? TRADITIONAL JUSTICE CHANGES IN LAW / INSTITUTIONS AMNESTY PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT MEMORIALIZATION REPARATIONS TRUTH-TELLING PROSECUTIONS RECONCILIATION NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

7 Map of Uganda showing Districts ADJUMANI DISTRICT INFO. Located in the West Nile region of Uganda, Adjumani District was created on 17 May 1997 when Moyo District was split into two. It is bordered by South Sudan to the northeast, Moyo District to the north, Amuru District to the east and south, Arua and Yumbe Districts to the west. By 2009 Adjumani District had an estimated population of 309,000. The Madi-speaking community makes up an estimated 55.2 percent of the population. Other ethnic groups include the Lugbara, Acholi, Kuku, Zande and Bor. By 2009 Adjumani District had an estimated population of 309,000. The Madi-speaking community makes up an estimated 55.2 percent of the population. Other ethnic groups include the Lugbara, Acholi, Kuku, Zande and Bor. Adjumani has a long history of hosting forced migrants, given its geographical location. At one point, refugees from Sudan and other neighburing countries constituted over 36.4 percent of the total population in Adjumani. It is difficult to estimate the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the District given that little attention was paid to their plight at the time. Adjumani suffered direct and indirect effects from the various conflicts within Uganda and neighbouring countries. At the same time, Adjumani has its own social, economic and political conflict drivers. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

8 Adjumani Town NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

9 Introduction This field brief is based on research conducted in Adjumani between 26 September and 1 October Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were held with women, men and youth in Dzaipi Sub-County, East Madi County in Adjumani District while the one comprising of civil society and local government officials took place in Adjumani Town Council. 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 Stephen Oola, all of the RLP. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

10 LOOKING BACK NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

11 Adjumani has suffered enormously from conflicts dating back to pre-independence. Up to today, the people in the district continue to live under constant threat of local conflicts, imported conflicts, conflicts with its neighboring districts, and cross-border conflicts with (now) South Sudan. The imported conflicts are a result of the influx of refugees and IDPs. The conflict between the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda that started in Acholi sub-region spilled over to Adjumani causing loss of lives, destruction of property and prolonged displacement. The displacement within the region continues up to today and has incited land and border disputes. Meanwhile, cross border conflicts, involving direct attacks by tribes in South Sudan seem to be on the increase. The lack of acknowledgment and redress of the legacies of violence means that much of these conflicts will continue to flourish. The people of Adjumani are not certain of having a peaceful future: will their plight ever be heard and addressed in a Ugandan transitional justice process, they asked? Conflicts in Uganda Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

12 When participants were asked whether they think there is peace in Uganda, their response was that Uganda has not been at peace for close to a century. According to civil society and local government representatives, Uganda has not been peaceful since the Kabaka crisis of 1966, whereas participants of the other three FGDs claimed that Idi Amins coup d'état in 1971 sparked the ongoing violence in Uganda. Ever since, the country has been disturbed by violent regime changes and military struggles by several rebel groups. In striving for power, the various insurgent groups terrorized the civilian population in Uganda. Also, Ugandan borders are porous and therefore vulnerable to external attacks from its neighbours such as South Sudan. For example, as Moyo District borders the South Sudanese Kajokeji County, it has often been under attack by the Sudanese, claiming that a big part of Moyo District belongs to Sudan (now South Sudan). Peace has not been genuine at the district level either. In Adjumani District, there has been a protracted conflict over land between the Acholis and the Madi people. This conflict escalated ever since LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony caused the displacement of these groups. Some Acholis started occupying the vast lands at Apaa, Pagirinya and Bibiya which originally belonged to the Madis. However, some FGD participants traced the origin of the conflict back further, to the defeat of Tito Okello in Following Tito Okellos defeat, former Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) Acholi fighters had to hide from the National Resistance Army (NRA) soldiers, and started occupying land in the area. In September 2009, the situation got out of hand when the Acholis and Madis attacked each other with bows, arrows, guns and knives over land. They threatened each other with death, saying that blood would be spilled. Is there peace in Uganda? Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

13 Even though the LRA is no longer operating in Uganda, Konys army is still committing atrocities in neighbouring countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic and South Sudan. The participants expressed fear that the rebels might return because they live very close to the borders of these countries. Furthermore, they fear that the communities from the bordering countries that have been affected by the LRA insurgency might revenge. During the FGD sessions, the youth adamantly stated that Uganda is not at peace, and they foresee future violence. When asked how they think future violence can be prevented, the majority expressed their opinion through wishes. I wish I were a bird in the air so that if conflict erupts in future I will fly away from it. I wish I were God, I would peacefully intervene and solve it. I wish I were grass because even if the conflict destroys us all, the next generation will come. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District Is there peace in Uganda? (Cont.)

14 The disappearance/killing of the paramount chief of West Nile (Chief Aliku) (19 th century). This act of violence by the British was among the first horrible attacks to peace, stability and tradition in West Nile, before the abolition of kingdoms by Obote in To date, the people of West Nile are still demanding truth telling, apology and compensation from the British government. They blame the British more than Obote for their weak - though currently reviving, traditional institutions and leadership. A female participant said that the whites killed our traditional chief who did not pass on traditional leadership/power to the young ones Participants in the FGD with women said they wanted the whites to show the grave and body of their chief Aiku. The Kabaka crisis (1966): This conflict was noted as the first attempt since Independence to settle differences through the use of the national army. As a result of disagreement between Obote and Kabaka Mutesa I, Obote ordered his army commander Idi Amin to attack the Kabakas palace. The attack led to loss of lives and properties and forced the Kabaka in exile in England where he died under mysterious circumstances. It is suspected he was poisoned. This led to hatred between Obote (and the people from the north) and the people from central Uganda. Amins Coup (1971): Amin overthrew Obote through a military coup. His reign resulted in bloodshed as Amin embarked on a strategy of killing elites and wealthy businessmen in order to favour the Nubian and Kakwa people, giving them the properties of his victims. Additionally, he used tribal cleansing in northern Uganda as a means to dispose off former Obote allies. As a result, many Acholis and Langis were slaughtered in cold blood. It was during Amins reign that Uganda experienced an economic crisis for the first time. Its impact is still visible in Ugandas current economy. Amins Overthrow (1979): Because Amins soldiers had killed many Acholis and Langis, many of them fled into exile in Sudan and Congo fearing ruthless revenge. Electoral crisis (1980): After Amin had fled into exile, a national general election was organized by the interim government which brought Obote back to power. The results, however, were contested by Yoweri Museveni and, for that reason, he mobilized the National Resistance Army (NRA) to fight a guerrilla war that lasted from 1980 to 1986, when his troops defeated Tito Okello. The conflicts in Ugandas history were discussed by the participants at a national, regional, district and village level: Fall Obote II/Tito Okello Coup (1985) : Obote IIs administration had become very unpopular after he regained power, leading to strong opposition in parliament and from the Buganda region. It was compounded by tribalism leading the Acholi soldiers to launch a military coup against Obote under the command of General Tito Okello. Okello became President in July 1985, at a time when the NRA and the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF)I, amongst others, were still in the bush. Okello negotiated peace with them in Nairobi, though the Peace Agreement would later be broken by Museveni who staged a coup against him in Conflicts Timeline: National Musevenis Take Over : After the military overthrow of Titos government, many of his Acholi fighters fled back to the north and hid in the bush, while some others fled into exile in Sudan to form rebel groups such as the Uganda Peoples Democratic Army (UPDA). After the NRA took power, Uganda was in chaos again as a result of insecurity caused by military operations and different rebel groups who feared revenge from the newly installed leader. This was the pretext for the emergence of the LRA. Walk to Work and Strikes (2011) : As a result of the economic hardship experienced by many Ugandans in 2011, a pressure group called Activist for Change, organized Walk to Work campaigns which took place in several towns, such as Gulu, Mbale, Masaka and Kampala. The Walk to Work campaigns led to unlawful detention and deaths of many people. People lost their properties because of looting and business came to a standstill. In the same year, teachers and lecturers of Makerere University went on a strike to express their grievances. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

15 Pre-Independence inter-tribal conflicts between the Acholi and Madi. The Madi and Acholi used to be at peace and traded together. The Acholi bought spears from the Madi. However, disagreement started between the two tribes, the cause of which is not clearly known and they started fighting one another. The Madi claim the Acholi used the spears they bought from the Madi to kill the Madi. During the 1970s, an attempt to reconcile the two communities failed when a spear that was supposed to be bent (symbolizing an end to hostilities and reconciliation) disappeared from Adjumani Sub - County headquarters. To date, no reconciliation has ocurred between the two communities. Instead, fighting continues, especially over land boundaries. UNRF I ( ): UNRF I emerged in 1980 to fight the government of Obote II and is said to have been under the leadership of Moses Ali. This rebellion ended in 1985 when, during a meeting, Moses Ali was convinced by Yoweri Museveni to join the NRA and overthrow Tito Okellos government together. They signed an agreement stipulating that, if they captured power, Yoweri Museveni would become President and Moses Ali would become Vice-President. Moses Ali was to spearhead fights in the north and proceed towards Kampala while Museveni would concentrate on central Uganda. UNRF I dissolved and joined the NRA. Much as Moses Ali was not made the Vice- President by Museveni as agreed, over the years Moses Ali had numerous appointments and rose in ranks serving the NRM government in different capacities. UPDA Insurgency (1986): The Uganda Peoples Democratic Army (UPDA), under the leadership of Odong Latek and other commanders, such as the late Walter Ochora, Kilama Mike and Okello Okeno operated mainly in the Acholi and West Nile sub regions with a focus on the border districts of Adjumani and Nebbi. The leadership and commanders of this rebel group were former UNLA soldiers who were defeated by the NRA in In Adjumani, the rebellion was very unpopular, as the fighters were often blamed for killings and the looting of properties under the pretext of revenge for what Amin had done to the Acholis. Holy Spirit Movement (1986) : In 1986 the Holy Spirit Movement (HSM) emerged under the leadership of Alice Auma Lakwena, who presented herself as a messenger who drew inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Many people from across the northern region followed her, as she was focused to capture power and rule Uganda through the will of God. Her rebellion was very successful, as she zealously fought her way from northern Uganda to eastern Uganda in Jinja District. In Jinja, she was overpowered by the NRA and she fled into exile in Kenya where she died a natural death. Many of her fighters died or got severely wounded during encounters with the government army. Some of the survivors are believed to have joined the LRA and UPA, while others were arrested and imprisoned in Luzira WNBF Insurgency ( ): In 1995, the West Nile Bank Front (WNBF) was formed under the leadership of Juma Oris. Juma Oris had been one of the senior commanders under Moses Ali during UNRF I. When Museveni captured power in 1986, he did not fulfil the agreement signed with Moses Ali, which stated that Moses Ali would become Vice-President under an NRA government. This was Juma Oris motivation to start the WNBF. He recruited most fighters from Koboko County (now Koboko District), and Obongi in Moyo. The WNBF operated mainly in West Nile and around the Acholi borders and is said to have launched the attack on a barrack in Bibya, Amuru District Uganda National Rescue Front II ( ): The UNRF II emerged in 1996 under the leadership of Ali Bamuze. He was one of the senior commanders in UNRF I. According to Bamuze, the return of UNRF was primarily because of the failure to honour the 1985 agreement between Museveni and Moses Ali, especially the section that stated that UNRF combatants would retain their ranks in the NRA. The combatants were instead demoted. Secondly, there was growing insecurity in West Nile with individuals imprisoned and killed by government. Bamuzes UNRF II was claimed to be the only rebel group that openly denounced rebellion and could reconcile with both the government and the community after signing a formal cease fire with the government in Yumbe on 24 December, Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

16 Corruption is said to be a major concern at the district level. The participants of the FGDs blamed district leaders for being corrupt, as they believe that funds that should have been used for social services and for implementing development programmes were diverted into the pockets of the officers. As a result, hot debates and blame games prevail in the district Notes of all FGDs. Conflict between supporters of different political parties is another source of tension in the district, purportedly a direct outcome of the reintroduction of multi-party politics Land conflicts between Adjumani and Amuru District prevail. When UNLA fighters fled to northern Uganda to hide in the bush on the Acholi-Madi border, they occupied the land and continue to do so up to today. Also, the LRA displaced many Madis from their homes into IDP camps after which, they believe, some Acholis took and occupied their land. Amongst the Madi people themselves, land conflicts are common as a result of two phases of displacement: after the overthrow of Amin and during the LRA insurgency. They disagree on land boundaries and clash over real or alleged illegal occupation. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

17 Robbery prevails at the village level since 2006, when displaced people started to return to their original homes. This can be attributed to the passive nature of life that people were leading in camps, especially the youth. Almost everything was provided for by the relief agencies. When the aid agencies left, many youths resorted to armed robbery since they had access to guns because of the armed groups operating in West Nile Domestic violence is a rampant manifestation of conflict at the household level. Women and children have become the victim of violence perpetrated by their husbands and fathers. This can be attributed to the war, which spoilt livelihood activities. Men are no longer occupied and all that is left for them is getting drunk. They become frustrated by continuous failure to provide for their families. Whereas it is mainly women who are battered, also men can suffer from their relatively stronger counterparts. Rampant child neglect causes a lot of problems in families. A female participant mentioned that war has made their husbands negligent regarding the education of their children. She said that men have used the war as a scapegoat to run away from their responsibilities. According to her, men claim that it is useless to educate their children as rebels will come and abduct them anyway adding that scarce resources could get wasted. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

18 The personality of leaders Fear that war may break again Lack of tolerance between political rivals Loss of lives Increase in land conflict Tribalism Poor leadership Disrespect for the Constitution and term limits Unemployment Vengeance Displacement and exile Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

19 The causes of these conflicts at the different levels can be explained by examining leaders past actions, according to the participants. The participants felt that past leaders have planted the seeds for these conflicts to flourish. For example, the Kabaka crisis of 1966 can be attributed to Obotes failure to organize national elections. This crisis created many problems in Uganda to date, such as hatred and tribalism between the Baganda and the Acholi and Langi people. This bitterness is still prevalent in the current generation. This could explain why some Baganda refused Obotes casket to travel through Luwero by road. Tribalism introduced by Ugandas leaders is a form of war itself and a tool which leaders use to distribute resources and opportunities such as jobs. This unequal distribution inspires national dissatisfaction and hatred of the incumbent leader and his tribesmen. Post-colonial leaders in Uganda seem to have been poisoned by colonialist styles of leadership like the British system of divide and rule which breeds divisionism and disunity. This leads to conflicts between ruling and marginalized and dissatisfied tribes Unemployment leads to people joining rebellion Poor leadership by those in power inspires citizens to form rebel groups Hunger for power has dissuaded many presidents from giving up the sceptre once they have gained it. Amin, for example, called himself president for life, whereas Museveni has said he is there pakalast (until the end) Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District Causes

20 Causes of conflicts (cont.) Disrespect for the Constitution and term limits is one characteristic of leaders who are hungry for power. Obote, for example, abrogated the constitution and created his own. This was one of the triggers for the 1966 Kabaka crisis The personality of leaders, such as arrogance and the tendency to dictatorship, can (partly) explain violence and conflict. Amin gave himself many titles. He called himself Field Marshall, Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, Military Commander and Conqueror of the British Empire. Amins personality is associated with despotism and bloodshed. When he was overthrown, other rebel groups emerged. In West Nile, Amins tribesmen and close allies started a rebellion Vengeance, revenge attitudes and fear for revenge grew among the Ugandan population after Amin was ousted from power. The Acholis wanted to pay Amins tribe mates back for what he had done to them, causing many people from West Nile to run into exile in Sudan. In the Women FGD, a participant said, When Tito Okello was overthrown, Museveni launched operation Fagia to sweep former UNLA fighters. These primarily Acholi and Langi people later formed rebel groups such as the UPDA, LRA and the Holy Spirit Movement Unfair elections have also caused conflict. In 1980, Museveni rejected the election results and formed his rebel group. However, Museveni has also been blamed for election malpractices. Lack of professionalism amongst army personnel has caused violence and conflict in past regimes. For example, Obote and Tito recruited criminals and illiterate people to serve in the army. Their armies were used as dumping grounds for social misfits and criminals who became involved in killings and other human rights violations The empty promises of leaders and the unequal distribution of resources has caused dissatisfaction, hatred and rebellion. We were displaced in Sudan after the over throw of Idi Amin. The Acholi soldiers were moving from door to door asking for any soldier who served in Amins regime. They would follow you with your foot mark up to the garden or bush and kill you just like they did to colonel Toko. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

21 Impacts of conflicts Loss of lives: The LRA massacred civilians in Dzaipi Sub- County and 30 people in Pakele Sub-County in The UNLA massacred over 150 civilians in Pagaringa Central village in Dzaipi Sub-County around 1980 and buried the bones in mass graves around Dzaipi sub-county headquarter. This was discovered in 1986 when Museveni was already in power. The UNLA killed thousands of civilians Lack of tolerance between political rivals Destruction of identity through the divide and rule policy employed by leaders Loss of property: Men and women lost their business due to the fighting of rebel groups. Houses were burnt Displacement and exile: Many people from West Nile fled into exile in Sudan after the overthrow of Amin. Konys LRA rebels displaced many people into IDP camps Spread of disease: Especially the prevalence of HIV/AIDS increased. Many soldiers were sent to Adjumani to keep peace, but they resorted to rape, defilement and adultery with women. Other diseases, such as epilepsy, also drastically increased Increase in psychological problems with the emergence of jok jok (evil spirit) Increase in land conflict in areas bordering Acholi districts, such as Bibya at the Amuru-Adjumani border, Apaa and Elegu. There are also serious land conflicts in the communities e.g. between Pagiringa and Dzaipi, South Sudan and Moyo Job opportunities: Many offices were created, by for example the Red Cross, and people were recruited. The army also recruited many people Developmen t : Infrastructural development was promoted after the war Enrichment of family members of perpetrators: They became rich as their children sent money and looted properties and became wealthy Negative Positive Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

22 Impacts of conflicts (cont.) Disabilities and amputations: Conflicts left many people amputated or paralyzed as a result of landmines and bombs. Some victims have developed psychological problems and do not go to school Fear that war may break again: Some people do not invest in the education of their children because they think the rebels will abduct them Negative economic impacts : Inflation and prices of commodities increased Orphaned children: Many children lost their parents as a result of the killings by the LRA and later HIV/AIDS Environmental degradation because of bombing, the loss and displacement of wild life and the cutting of trees by displaced people in Dzaipi for charcoal Militarization: People feel guns guarantee power to achieve anything, including becoming president. Participants of the Women FGD also said that, during the climax of the war, the level of vulnerability of children to abduction by the LRA was high. Consequently, many children joined the UPDF to avoid abduction. Former LRA captives choose to join the national army rather than reintegrate in society, having become accustomed to life with the gun. Women recounted an incident where youth tried to seize guns of UPDF soldiers in the presence of the RDC. This, according to them, demonstrates a military tendency inculcated in youth. Loss of cultural values: There has been a loss of respect for cultural and religious values Other impacts that were mentioned include: looting, insecurity, hatred and poverty. Negative Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

23 STAKEHOLDERS Victims Conflicts Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

24 Victims The sense of victimhood after the experience of war translates directly to anger, tears and vulnerability, as expressed by participants of the Adjumani FGDs. Youths and women often wept during the sessions. Participants felt government officials at both the central and district level contributed little if at all to protecting them from being victimized by the LRA, despite their level of vulnerability. A participants in the Women FGD commented that during the 1990s and early 2000 our government officials, especially RDCs and NRM MPs were feeding the President that there were no rebels and war in Adjumani District yet we were being brutally killed and abducted simply because those officials look at themselves as being groundnuts at the end of the garden that are always the last to be eaten up by the squirrels and other pests. They also accused the UPDF of indiscriminately and knowingly spreading HIV/AIDS to children and married women, either forcefully or by buying them since people were desperately poor in the IDP camps. The majority of the participants felt victimized by the various conflicts they have experienced in Uganda and their district. Some female participants bitterly explained how the Acholis victimized them ever since the regimes of Obote and Tito Okello Many ran into exile to Sudan after the fall of Amin and suffered terribly during LRA operations in the North Thousands of people in Dzaipi were displaced. Some of them have not returned yet. Those who did return were confronted with volatile land conflicts. Many Acholis from Amuru District who fled the LRA conflict had occupied their vast land The people from Paminyo, Pagirinya, Arinyapi and Dzaipi Central suffered from the LRA conflict as they were abducted, killed or taken to carry items the rebels had looted The participants considered all of the civilian and non-civilian population victims for example women, men, children, humanitarian workers, peace keepers, religious leaders, UPDF soldiers and rebels. Some of the victims mentioned by name are Colonel Tokolo (under Amin), Museveni and Kony, who is hiding in the bush with no hope of returning home. If you go to Kampala, there are so many good developments and prospering businesses that the owners can show, unlike if you come to northern Uganda and West Nile. We will only show graves of our people brutally and innocently killed during wars. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

25 According to the participants, perpetrators of the violence in Uganda are: (Ex)-combatants such as Museveni, Kony, Juma Oris, Alice Lakwena, Bamuze, Otti Lagony, Moses Ali and all former presidents who fought each other Some Acholis who were benefiting from the war and therefore advised Kony not to come out of the bush Other perpetrators identified were the rebels, operation commanders, the ICC, President Bashir of Sudan, all terrorists, the judiciary which has not been impartial in addressing human rights violations, businesswomen and men who were collaborating with the fighters, women spies would come to the barracks under the pretext of seeking love and later report back to the rebels, fighters, politicians who walked to work accelerating violence in Kampala and other districts, all politicians who lost the elections and especially presidential candidates, all super powers who sold and/or supplied guns to the fighters, and those indicted by the ICC. Perpetrators Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

26 Some rebels joined the LRA for personal gain. Participants of the FGDs said that Kony constructed a storied commercial building in Gulu town with the money he robbed from his victims Some people from Adjumani who ran into exile to Sudan got employment and upon their return to Uganda they constructed buildings in Dzaipi Museveni was given a lot of money to stop the war by donors. Instead of spending it on his army he spent it on his family. In Kampala he has built three houses: one for his own use, one for his wife and one for his son and daughters The late Juma Oris received a lot of money from the government after signing a cease fire agreement with the government on 24 December,2002 and also from foreign countries like Sudan to support his fight. He erected many building in Dzaipi Sub County Jessica Eriyo, former woman MP, also benefited from the LRA conflict because she was given support by the government to help the IDPs, but instead pocketed this money. She further received facilitation for her travels to the war affected persons in Adjumani and conferences The affected districts, Gulu in particular, benefited from recovery and development programs, such as NAADS, NUSAF and PRDP after the war had ended. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

27 Leaders and the current government were blamed over negligence with regards to atrocities committed by the LRA. Their late response and limited intervention to address the aftermath of the conflicts was condemned as well. While the LRA operated mainly in Acholiland, it is generally forgotten that Kony was also operating in Adjumani. For instance in Dzaipi Sub-County, many people lived in IDP camps that were not even formally recognized. Even though their leaders saw and understood the massacres, displacement and mass abductions by the LRA very well, they did not report the suffering to the President or other high ministries. Those who did; only reported about it in a mild way that did not attract the attention of NGOs. This late acknowledgement of human rights abuses and violations is believed to have been the major reason why Adjumani did not benefit much from recovery and development initiatives by the government and NGOs. Adjumani former LCV Chairman, Mark Dulu, witnessed the burning of houses by the rebels but did not act or report the incident to a higher authority The UN and the OAU/AU were not in control of the situation or kept silent and did not intervene in Ugandas affairs Religious leaders were bystanders before they engaged in peace talks with the rebels. Human rights activists advocated for a mild treatment of the LRA perpetrators which sanctions impunity Tribes surrounding the Acholi sub-region were considered bystanders as they did not join hands to address the LRA question. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

28 Army commanders of the UPDF supplied some guns and uniforms to the LRA rather than the UPDF troops. The government was reluctant to genuinely engage in peace talks. The Red Cross supported both the government and the rebels. Sudan supplied weapons to the rebels, prompting them to continue fighting the government and attack the civilian population. Some participants also alleged that the US played a role in the supply of guns to the rebels. NRA with intelligence. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

29 Iya Ronald, represented the Madi traditional institution during the Juba peace process in Garamba Traditional chiefs who were involved in direct peace negotiations with Kony NGOs that sensitized people about peace The government that accepted to engage in peace talks with Kony Chairman LCIII of Dzaipi and the then Chairman LCV of Adjumani Mark Duru played a tremendous role in building peace Community members and religious leaders like Bishop Odama, Bishop Drudwa of West Nile and Cardinal Wamala organized peace prayers in Adjumani. Peace Builders Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

30 LOOKING FORWARD Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

31 How it feels talking about the history of Uganda When participants were faced with this question, they said talking about the history of Uganda brings bad memories and tears. They had a general feeling of hope for the future of Uganda. They explained that when the past is discussed it is possible to learn from it and think of a way to make Uganda a more peaceful and better country to live in. The majority of the participants acknowledged that while their memories are very painful, it is also a consolation and it gives hope to think of future peace. The emotional pain experienced was noted to be inevitable and human. It was said to hold the potential to later turn into building blocks for the Ugandan nation, reminding the current generation to recognize the suffering from past atrocities and to prevent reoccurrence of similar happenings in the future. I was born in war situation, grew up in war situation and the children we are producing are going to face the same problems that we caused and experienced. A woman in Dzaipi Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

32 Perceptions of Justice When the participants were asked whether or not justice has been done to the different stakeholders to the conflicts, the majority argued that justice has not been done. They reasoned that the LRA abducted and killed many people (whose whereabouts remain unknown) and is still causing more suffering especially in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. Secondly, victims to the different conflicts have not been compensated to date and are still grieving their losses. Thirdly, much as some apologies were made by some indirect perpetrators on behalf of direct perpetrators, there has never been genuine apology and reconciliation between the victims, perpetrators and the government over past atrocities. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

33 The majority of the participants in Adjumani stressed the importance and relevance of truth- telling to rebuild peace and foster individual and communal healing. However, they explained that if it is not done in a well-organized manner truth- telling may also negatively affect the peace process. Political truth-telling and apologies made during political campaigns, by for example Dr Olara Otunu on behalf of UPCs past atrocities, have not been considered genuine by the participants. However, much as they considered the apology ingenuine, they did think it could be a stepping stone to a more transparent and acceptable truth-telling process. Participants said that, in any case, protection mechanisms for the stakeholders in a truth-telling process need to be established. Transitional Justice Mechanisms The participants expressed desire for reconciliation at the local, regional and national level after a long history of pre- and post-independence conflicts. According to them, community and national peace cannot be not secured without reconciliation. According to the participants, tension between the Madi and Acholi needs to be addressed urgently through reconciliation. The loss of the spear that was to be used for gomo tong was regretted and said to be a misfortune and a sign that the two communities shall continue fighting and shedding blood. That is why they want to finish themselves in Apaa over land. Participants feared that unless mutually acceptable and genuine reconciliation is done to address past conflicts amongst different communities and in Uganda as a whole, the future of lasting peace in Uganda is doomed. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

34 Transitional Justice Mechanisms The majority of the participants stated that memorialization and preservation of historical accounts are powerful tools for healing, but, as past abuses have not yet been corrected, it can cause more pain, hatred and the desire for revenge. The participants unanimously emphasized the key importance of reparations to address damages and other losses that were a result of conflicts. They lamented, however, that reparations are currently done or promised through uncoordinated programmes without consultation of victims and a clear policy framework. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

35 The majority of the participants revealed their desire for prosecution of perpetrators of violence in Uganda. However, they also expressed mistrust and disappointment by the national justice institutions which they regard as unreliable. Hence, they desire a shift to local justice mechanisms and practices when formal justice processes and mechanisms do not initiate reform to become more independent. Transitional Justice Mechanisms Although the traditional justice system of West Nile has been gravely weakened after the British killed paramount chief Aliku, the majority of the participants expressed preference for traditional justice mechanism for addressing past injustices instead of formal justice mechanisms that do not reunite aggrieved persons and communities that were disintegrated by the conflicts. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

36 According to the participants, there are gaps in the accountability for past atrocities in Uganda. This is an impediment to justice as it promotes impunity and bitterness. The participants explained that both Kony and the incumbent government have committed atrocities on the civilian population in Adjumani, but so far they fail to accept their responsibility. Therefore, both need to come out openly and ask for forgiveness. Women recognized that most fighters were abducted and said that there is a need for Kony and his fighters to come out and apologize so that they can be forgiven. They argued that, at the same time, the President should come out similarly and also ask for forgiveness. The youth on the other hand, argued in favour of prosecution and punishment of Kony, saying that he should suffer. They did argue, on the other hand, in favour of the amnesty granted to Bamuze. Civil society and local government representatives underlined the need for forgiveness as a cultural and Christian value, but in combination with truth-telling, apology and efforts to reintegrate former fighters. Transitional Justice Mechanisms Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

37 Messages to Leaders/Institutions When participants were asked to address a message to any leader or institution, the majority of the participants forwarded their messages to President Museveni because he is the one who caused most of the conflicts and suffering since Preserve our Mabira forest resume negotiations with Kony, address current inflation, withdraw the ICC arrest warrant of Kony and his senior commanders, stop making empty promises to the people, follow up programs sent to the communities, there must be a term limit of preferably two years, pakalast is for robbing people, prosperity for all is not benefiting the local people in Adjumani, work for peace, distribute resources equally, grant amnesty to Kony, stop the politics of revenge, send Kony a message to come back, retire, increase the budget for drugs, and finally; there should be no segregation on political grounds. Stop fighting and bring back all the children you have abducted and produced so that together we can develop Uganda To Moses Ali and Eriyo Jesca : Please do not come back to contest for the MP seat. Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

38 Messages to Leaders/Institutions(cont.) Message to other actors were: UHRC sensitize the community about land laws and policies. Parliament: If soldiers are sent to Karamoja to protect cows, why are there no soldiers sent to the border of Kajokeji to protect us against Sudan. To Ugandans: We should be united, show the world we are true Ugandans who are working towards peace, our children should believe in themselves and shine Please embrace every opportunity to develop, Ugandans are God fearing and we believe that our country is blessed, we should work together towards a common goal, end hypocrisy, educate our nation, we need fairness and justice and the truth to embrace peace Please remember that this brief reflects community perspectives on national issues. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

39 Acknowledgements The research team comprised of Veve Richard, Wamimbi Jimmy, Aliobe Joan, Opiny Shafic and Okot Bernard Kasozi as team leader. This briefing note on which this presentation is based was written by Okot Benard Kasozi with valuable input from Annelieke van de Wiel and Stephen Oola. Presentation prepared by Opiny Shaffic, with inputs from Chris Dolan, Otim Patrick, Moses Alfred Nsubuga and edits by Angella Nabwowe. NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

40 NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District

41 Watch this space for Brief 3: Bulambuli district NRTJ Audit BRIEF 2 : Adjumani District


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