Transitional justice is a way societies emerge from periods of conflict and repression to address large scale or systematic human rights violations so serious that the normal justice system may not provide adequate response.
Transitional justice is meant to identify avenues to address the structural causes of those violations and conflicts such as social exclusions and inequalities. TJ is ungirded by a broader understanding of justice that takes into account a range of victim needs and societal priorities.
Transitional justice is a way societies emerge from periods of conflict and repression to address large scale or systematic human rights violations so serious that the normal justice system may not provide an adequate response.
Transitional justice is meant to identify avenues to address the structural causes of those violations and conflicts such as social exclusions and inequalities. TJ is unguarded by a broader understanding of justice that takes into account a range of victim needs and societal priorities.
Kasese and the Rwenzori sub-region, in general, has been grappling with a series of conflicts since the 19th century ranging from the Bunyoro invasion to the Rwenzururu Movement, National Army for Liberation of Uganda and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) wars.
The latest conflict involved the government of Uganda's security agencies' raid on the palace of Rwenzururu King Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere in Kasese town in November 2016.
The attack on the palace left more than 100 people dead and more than 200 others including Mumbere arrested. They are now battling a plethora of charges including murder, terrorism, arson, malicious damage and attempted.
Now, the Rwenzururu Kingdom is pondering on means to execute transitional justice as a means to bring an end to a cycle of conflicts in the Rwenzori region. The kingdom is now courting government and other stakeholders to embrace transitional justice to realise peace in the sub-region.
Stanley Baluku, the secretary of the Prime Ministerial Commission of the Kingdom, says they have come to the agreement that the only way peace can flourish in Rwenzururu is if peace is sought in the banner of transitional justice.
Baluku says this justice system incorporates the traditional and cultural methods of managing conflict which many people easily resonate with compared to the criminal justice system which is a little alien to the Traditional African Society.
//Cue in; "We know that…
Cue out…or unintentionally."//
Baluku argues that Transitional Justice could be an alternative conflict resolution since it leaves the victims, consoled with the remorse exhibited by the culprits and or the perpetrators of the conflict.
//Cue in; "Criminal justice satisfies…
Cue out… litigation and prosecution."//
He added that this could be an opportunity to usher the peace that has remained elusive in the Rwenzori region for a long time. The Commission Secretary also revealed that the Rwenzururu Kingdom structures have already embraced the idea and only need to be educated further about how the notion needs to be implemented.
//Cue in; "I think it was...
Cue out..for an eye."//
Baluku also said the government ought to interest itself in this justice system if it really wants peace to prevail in this volatile part of western Uganda adding that the 2005 inter-ministerial report by Henry Muganwa Kajura on conflict in the Rwenzori did recommend a peace and reconciliation committee which, incidentally, the government never established.
//Cue in; "You know if you…
Cue out…for future conflict."//
He cautions government against relying on the criminal justice system as a way to solve conflicts arguing that it cannot practically help communities and people to forgive each other but instead could let people hold permanent grudges against one another.
//Cue in; "You may win…
Cue out…Rwenzori region."//
Johnication Muhindo, the Team Leader at Creations Forum Afrika, a non-governmental organisation that has been working towards peace building processes in the Rwenzori region says the move by the Kingdom is a step in the right direction. Muhindo says several people within the region have lived with deep-seated wounds from past war experiences and thus making the area prone and vulnerable to further conflict.
//Cue in; "I for example see...
Cue out…and the bitterness."//
Muhindo, however, said there is also a need to develop a special program for the Rwenzori to help alleviate people from poverty as a key step in helping them overcome the bitterness that conflicts have meted on them.
//Cue in; "But also address…
Cue out…of these issues."//
Transitional Justice has been formerly used to help in rebuilding communities in post-genocide Rwanda and post-apartheid South Africa.