Vol No: 83,
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Blue watch

Birmingham University researches on resolving the conflict in northern Uganda By Anietie Isong
MULTIPLE approaches involving local and international agents are needed to resolve the conflict in northern Uganda, research from the University of Birmingham reveals.

Professor Paul Jackson, from the University’s International Development Department carried out an analysis of the situation in the country with regard to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the possibilities for peace in northern Uganda. His findings, published in Roundtable, the Journal of Commonwealth and International Affairs reveal that the conflict in the country can be linked to the involvement of Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. The divisions within the LRA and the inability of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to fulfil its mandate also contribute to the crisis.

Professor Jackson explains: “Due to the history of the conflict, the ICC approach is unlikely to achieve peace since there may be a significant group of rebels who will reject the involvement of the ICC. The people of northern Uganda are excluded from any form of justice system since they have a form of traditional justice that implies a lack of external involvement, particularly from the Ugandan Government.”

Many northern Ugandans see the intervention of the ICC as being biased and undermining their local justice system. It therefore means that the ICC has been asked to deal with criminal activity that is outside the control and capacity of the Ugandan judicial system. The study also exposes the problematic nature of the LRA group.

Several of the fighters have been in the bush for some time and have no experience of negotiations. “Many of these rebels have never known peace, having been abducted young and then brutalised over several years,” Professor Paul Jackson adds. “Most have been taught to use terror as a control mechanism. They are woefully equipped to deal with peace negotiations of any type without significant external support.” Birmingham University’s International Development Department (IDD) is a multidisciplinary department committed to poverty reduction through the development of effective governance systems. The department addresses a wide range of public management and governance issues in developing and transitional countries in Southern Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the former USSR.

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