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  • Author: Leslie Vinjamuri
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: In recent years efforts to hold the perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable have become increasingly normalized, and building capacity in this area has become central to the strategies of numerous advocacy groups, international organizations, and governments engaged in rebuilding and reconstructing states. The indictment of sitting heads of state and rebel leaders engaged in ongoing conflicts, however, has been more exceptional than normal, but is nonetheless radically altering how we think about, debate, and practice justice. Arrest warrants for Sudanese president Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, Liberian president Charles Taylor, and the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, Joseph Kony, have not only galvanized attention around the role of international justice in conflict but are fundamentally altering the terms of debate. While a principled commitment continues to underpin advocacy for justice, several court documents and high-profile reports by leading advocacy organizations stress the capacity of international justice to deliver peace, the rule of law, and stability to transitional states. Such an approach presents a stark contrast to rationales for prosecution that claim that there is a moral obligation or a legal duty to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Instead, recent arguments have emphasized the instrumental purposes of justice, essentially recasting justice as a tool of peacebuilding and encouraging proponents and critics alike to evaluate justice on the basis of its effects.
  • Topic: Crime, Genocide, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Sudan
  • Author: Adam Branch
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ethics & International Affairs
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: With its 2003 ''Referral of the Situation Concerning the Lord's Resistance Army'' to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Ugandan government launched a legal process that, it claimed, would bring peace and justice to war-torn northern Uganda. The ICC prosecutor officially opened an investigation in response to the referral in July 2004, and in October 2005 the ICC unsealed arrest warrants, its historic first warrants in its historic first case, charging five of the top commanders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) with war crimes and crimes against humanity. For two decades, Uganda north of the Nile has been ravaged by a brutal civil war between the LRA and the Ugandan government, so any possibility of productive change is to be warmly welcomed. The sanguine predictions proffered by the Ugandan government and by the ICC's supporters, however, are called into question by doubts about the court's ability to achieve peace or justice in Uganda, doubts stemming from the specific way the ICC has pursued the Ugandan case, and because of more inherent problems with the ICC as a legal institution.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Uganda