Justice and Post LRA War in Northern Uganda: ICC Versus Acholi Traditional Justice System


Author: Wilfred Lajul, Makerere University, Uganda

Email: wodangom.lajul@gmail.com
Published: October 14, 2017

Citation: Lajul, W. (2017). Justice and Post LRA War in Northern Uganda: ICC Versus Acholi Traditional Justice System. IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion & Philosophy, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijerp.3.2.02


Guns have gone silent in Northern Uganda after the LRA war, but clouds of injustice are still thick in the air. Perpetrators of injustice have disappeared in thin air. Victims of atrocities languish in their villages with psychological and physical scars difficult to forget; lips cut, legs maimed, girls raped, children abducted and some left parentless. The International Criminal Court (ICC), an institution of justice in the world, has taken over the process of justice by demanding for the arrests of the leaders of the LRA. However, the Acholi Elders and Religious Leaders have demanded an alternative justice system.

An investigation on how justice can be realized for these victims of war is needed. The question is; can justice be delivered to the people of Northern Uganda by the ICC, or by the alternative justice system, proposed by the Acholi Elders and Religious Leaders? Southwick (2005) calls this situation a dilemma for the ICC, while Ruaudel & Timpson (2005) describe it as “a forgotten and an unforgivable crisis”.

This paper discusses what justice in a post-conflict situation is and how it can be realized in Northern Uganda. The hypothesis is that true justice is more than punishments for wrongs done; it involves healing the wounds of conflict, mending broken hearts, reviving dampened spirits and restoring relations torn apart by human violence. This understanding is very close to the view of the Acholi Elders and Religious Leaders, which need to be critically examined for relevance in contemporary Africa.


lord’s resistance army, LRA, international criminal court, ICC, Acholi traditional justice system, ATJS