UGANDA SHOULD READY HERSELF TO PREVENT ATROCITY CRIMES AND EXIGENCIES OF CONFLICT.
Justice Access Point (JAP) and the National Alliance Against Atrocity Crimes (NAAAC) wishes you all a prosperous and peaceful new year.
The start of 2020 provides an important moment not only to look back but peer into the future and plan ahead. The future beckons with many important prospects given key commitments that government of Uganda has made against the backdrop of SDG 16, International Conferences for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) protocol on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination, and Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes(GAAMAC) outcome statement for 3rd biennial GAAMAC Conference held in Kampala in Маy 2018; and the Marabo Protocol on international crimes. Quite a number of commitments by Government of Uganda are left begging and require urgent attention:
1. Ratification of the Marabo protocol- The Protocol extends the jurisdiction of the yet-to-be established African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR) to crimes under international law and transnational crimes. The Court will have jurisdiction to try 14 different crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes;
2. Development of a National Action Plan to further operationalize the National Prevention mechanism established under the ICGLR protocol;
3. SDG 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development; provide access to justice and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions;
4. Operationalize the recommendations of the GAAMAC III biennial conference held in Kampala, Uganda in May 2018 including:
(a) Establish strong legal frameworks as they make national initiatives more effective;
(b) Strengthen justice efforts Access to justice for victims do to ensure accountability for perpetrators of atrocity crimes;
(c) Target preventive and capacity -building actions at marginalized, vulnerable and /or at -risk populations as this can enhance domestic coping capacities;
(d) Improve early warning and response through monitoring and evidence- based actions employing indicators, data collection, systematically and empirically-based analyses;
(e) Establish and strengthen appropriate legal and political mechanisms to combat hate speech;
(f) Build capacities within governments and civil society organisations to incorporate an atrocity prevention lens in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human rights council.
In view of the above, we recommend as follows:
(i) That the State expedites its ratification of the Marabo Protocol on international crimes;
(ii) That Government commits to the development and implementation of a comprehensive national action plan for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity crimes pursuant to the implementation of the International Conferences for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) protocol on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination.
(iii) That Government expedites the enactment of the bill on prohibition and punishment of genocide and mass atrocity crimes;
(iv) That Government expedites the implementation of the National Transitional Justice Policy;
(v) That Government commits to the development and implementation of a National Action Plan against hate and dangerous speech;
(vi) That Government mainstreams atrocity prevention education at the different levels of education including, security forces academies and colleges;
(vii) That comprehensive capacity building in atrocity preventionfor the different stakeholders in the Ugandan prevention community of practice be undertaken.