Victims' Voices for Justice
The years between the start of the LRA war and the eventual involvement of the international community, as well as the subsequent years between the issuing of an arrest warrant against LRA commanders and the eventual arrest of one of them, have been long and painful. Victims have waited for an arrest as a moment of hope, however, their aspirations were immediately discouraged by vocal advocacy of some campaigning for Ongwen to be given amnesty. The worst aspect of this is that the agitators claim to be speaking on behalf of the victims, even asserting that victims and communities from across the Greater North have forgiven the LRA commanders. These claims, no matter how loud, do not represent the views of the majority that continues to aspire for justice.
Victims’ Voices for Justice builds upon our recent actions and events, carried out in the framework of engaging victims and communities with the ICC. We have, among others, organised and continue to coordinate meetings of victim-centred organisations, victim-communities and local leadership from across the Greater North. Notable and recent examples of our engagement include the participation of AYINET’s Director at the initial appearance of Ongwen in The Hague, the continuous organisation of community-level events and radio talk shows informing victims about latest developments, the gathering of intermediary and partner organisations of the ICC, as well as the visit of the ICC Chief Prosecutor to the affected community in Northern Uganda in early March 2015.
The struggle for justice will require exceptional organisation, coordination, sacrifice as well as courage and any contribution to the work of local associations and institutions will be greatly appreciated. We are currently exploring possibilities for obtaining support to assist grass-root victims’ groups across the regions. If you wish to contact and support a victim-led group in the Greater North, get in touch; we may be able to offer some suggestions.
- The provision of medical and psychosocial rehabilitation to those victims still living with untreated war wounds. AYINET conducts surgeries for mutilations, gun shots, beatings, fistula and other injuries resulting from sexual abuse, among others. So far, we have been able to provide surgical rehabilitation to over 5,000 victims, however, too many victims remain in pain, even though the conflict has ended. Catering for victims’ health needs remains an absolute priority.
- The support of victims’ attendance at and participation in the trial by the ICC of Dominic Ongwen. In addition, we will, funds permitting, stream daily updates of the trial, lobby for greater support of the victims by the ICC and ICC-related institutions, such as the Trust Fund for Victims, conduct continuous outreaches and radio talk shows to raise awareness of the trial and victims’ related views and priorities, and publish materials that can reach the wider international public.
- Looking beyond the ICC – the use of the Victims’ Voices for Justice platform as a tool that allows victims to invigorate and shape domestic Transitional Justice processes, such as a dialogue on accountability, a regional, truth telling and national peace as well as reconciliation process and a timely reparations programme.