Justice for Serious Crimes Before National Courts

Justice for Serious Crimes Before National Courts

Uganda's International Crimes Division

Book - 2012
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In recent years, there has been increasing focus on making it possible for national courts to conduct trials of serious crimes that violate international law. In particular, states parties to the International Criminal Court have devoted greater attention to complementarity--the principle that national courts should be the primary vehicles for prosecuting serious crimes. This briefing paper provides a snapshot of the experience to date of Uganda's complementarity-related initiative: the International Crimes Division (ICD), a division of Uganda's High Court with a mandate to prosecute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, in addition to crimes such as terrorism. National trials for serious crimes in Uganda could make a major contribution to securing justice for victims of Uganda's conflict in the north. However, with serious legal obstacles--as well as organizational issues--already emerging during the ICD's first war crimes trial, it remains to be seen whether the ICD will be a meaningful forum for ensuring justice. Based on research by Human Rights Watch in Uganda in September 2011, this paper analyzes the ICD's work to date, obstacles it has encountered, and challenges both for the future of the ICD and for national accountability efforts more broadly. For the ICD to render credible justice, the Ugandan government should provide uncompromised political support, and donors should fund key needs and stress the importance of addressing crimes committed by both parties to the conflict. The paper is part of a wider body of work on complementarity that Human Rights Watch's International Justice Program is developing.
Publisher: [New York] : Human Rights Watch, c2012
ISBN: 9781564328489
Branch Call Number: 345.676101 H91j
Characteristics: 29 pages ; 27 cm
Additional Contributors: Human Rights Watch (Organization)


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