Home » Notes » Amnesty or Accountability: The Fate of High-Ranking Child Soldiers in Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army

Amnesty or Accountability: The Fate of High-Ranking Child Soldiers in Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army

PDF · Stella Yarbrough · May-16-2014 · 47 VAND. J. TRANSNAT'L L. 531 (2014)

In May 2013, Uganda surprisingly resurrected its amnesty provision for two more years after having let it lapse only a year earlier. Uganda’s vacillation likely represents its competing desires to grant amnesty to low-level actors in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and to end impunity for decades of gross human rights violations in accordance with international criminal law. However, instead of crafting an amnesty provision that would satisfy both of these needs, Uganda reinstated the same “blanket” amnesty, or all-inclusive pardon, found in the Amnesty Act of Uganda (2000) (Act). As a result, high-level LRA actors like Thomas Kwoyelo and Caesar Acellam find themselves in a legal purgatory of indefinite detention: too culpable in the eyes of Ugandan officials to release, but too difficult to prosecute as they are entitled to amnesty under the terms of the Act.

This Note proposes a factor-based amnesty process, which would allow Ugandan officials to determine the level of culpability of each applicant and grant or deny amnesty accordingly. This case-by-case method is likely the most effective way of ensuring that a balance is struck between the aspirations of the people of a war-torn country for peace and the increasingly rigorous demands for justice in international criminal law.

Image Source – Pierre Holtz / UNICEF CAR / hdptcar.net (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License)




Leave a Reply

ExpressO Top 10 Law Review

ANNOUNCEMENTS

May 2018 Issue on the Second Israel Defense Forces International Conference on the Law of Armed Conflict. Read more about the Journal’s May 2018 issue here.

The Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law is proud to celebrate 50 years. Read about the Journal’s history here.

Connect with the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law on LinkedIn.

The Journal is pleased to listed as the #6 International Law Journal by the 2017 Washington and Lee Law Journal Rankings.

The Journal is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 Board of Editors: here

The Journal is very excited about the success of our February 2017 Symposium, “Sovereign Conduct on the Margins of the Law.” Read more about our February 2017 Symposium here

Please join us in congratulating the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 2017-2018 Write-On Competition Winners.

Video is available from the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law’s 2015-2016 SymposiumThis is Not a Drill: Confronting Legal Issues in the Wake of International Disasters. Watch here.

Explore Other Vanderbilt Law Resources