The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga has pledged to support any bill that enables smooth transitional justice among victims of war in Northern Uganda.
Kadaga made these remarks at the opening of the consultative workshop on a draft National Transitional Justice Policy, Tuesday 28th March, 2016 at Serena Conference Centre.
The Speaker urged the government to promptly work on bills that are going to foster transitional justice in the country.
“I hope that the fruits of this consultative workshop yield something tangible. Let the government not stop at drafting policies; we want to see these policies fully implemented to experience full recovery in the war torn areas,” Kadaga said.
Kadaga said that the victims also need to be involved in the fabric of the National Transitional Justice Policy.
“The issue of the participation of the victims is serious. they are the ones who suffered the ordeal and have had to deal with the after effects, so we need to involve them,” she said.
Kadaga added that there is need to consider stateless children born by abductees; and increase the number of women as special envoys will implement the policy.
“Girls were abducted and forced to move with the rebels as they kept between Uganda, Central African Republic and South Sudan. We need to establish a way of giving nationality to these children. We agreed in the 8th Parliament that Heads of State address this and it must be reflected in the policy,” the Speaker said.
The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Hon. Mario Obiga Kania promised that Cabinet will exercise urgency in ensuring that new bills are prepared and taken to Parliament to facilitate transitional justice.
Kania said that transitional justice has been practiced in various countries that have been affected by armed conflict.
“The country is experiencing peace because of the government measures taken earlier. However, the transition of justice offers the opportunity to address the after effects of conflict faced by the victims in a more holistic manner, ” he said.
Kania added that once the policy is discussed, the government plans to adjust the laws on transitional justice.
“Ugandans have suffered with some being displaced, killed, orphaned and women and children being abused; Social structures were destroyed so there is need to restore the victims socially and economically with the help of transitional justice,” the Minister said.
Francesca Akello, who spoke on behalf of the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), cited transitional justice as the mechanism to come out of long scale injustices happening like the LRA.
“I commend the government and Justice, Law and Order Sector for coming up with a framework that addresses the issues of justice in the country,” Akello said, adding that, “UN has been supporting peaceful transitions, peaceful dialogue, and transitional justice in Northern Uganda.”
The National Transitional Justice Policy aims at creating mechanisms and processes adopted following the aftermath of insurgence. It provides for a holistic and coherent government policy to address crimes committed during the conflict period.