The National War Victims’ Conference in Kampala, Uganda, will take place on May 28-30, 2014 at the Imperial Royal Hotel. The objective of the conference is to strengthen victims’ participation in Transitional Justice processes, and build nationwide solidarity around victims’ rights. The conference takes place ahead of the adoption of a National Transitional Justice policy for Uganda.
The conference will convene stakeholders from all sectors of society who are engaged in transitional justice processes, including the government, civil society and development partners. It plans to unite 100 victims from all Ugandan regions and over 30 victims from other African countries. Several ministers and other members of the Ugandan government will also speak at the event. Invited guests (to be confirmed) to address the plenary include:
- H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
- Video message from His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
- H.E. Mary Robinson (Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Former President of the Republic of Ireland),
- Professor Jeremy Sarkin, Attorney of the High Court of South Africa and human rights scholar,
- Justice James Ogala (Chairman of the Transitional Justice Working Group and Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission,
- And many others.
Issues addressed during the conference include:
- Victims’ participation in the upcoming national Transitional Justice process;
- Solidarity with and between victims, national reconciliation and Uganda’s future;
- Physical and mental health of victims (covering what the issues are, how the Government plans to address victims’ needs, what civil society organizations can contribute);
- Missing relatives (explaining the situation in Uganda, including an international law perspective);
- Amnesty legislation (some clarifications and updates from Uganda Law Reform Commission); and
- Criminal prosecution of war criminals (including the international commitment to bring perpetrators to justice and practical issues of witnesses’ support and security by the International Crimes Division of the High Court)
The conference will be facilitated by the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), a national NGO based in Lira, Northern Uganda. Since its founding in 2005, AYINET has been working in the conflict-affected Northern Uganda on projects that seek response to and redress for serious crimes and harms resulting from armed violence.
AYINET was awarded a grant from TrustAfrica through its International Criminal Justice program, which aims to address challenges and opportunities in the realm of international criminal justice and improve its relations among actors. The three-year multi-donor fund seeks to ensure greater collaboration and accountability among African states to transform the field of international criminal justice. Its focus countries include: Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali and Nigeria.