Complementarity’s Monopoly on Justice in Uganda: The International Criminal Court, Victims and Thomas Kwoyelo

In: International Criminal Law Review
Luke Moffett Lecturer, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK,

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Complementarity has been extolled as the pioneering way for the International Criminal Court (icc) to navigate the difficulties of state sovereignty when investigating and prosecuting international crimes. Victims have often been held up to justify and legitimise the work of the icc and states complementing the Court through domestic processes. This article examines how Uganda has developed its laws, legal procedure, and accountability for international crimes over the past decade. This has culminated in the trial of Thomas Kwoyelo, which after five years of proceedings, has yet to move to the trial phase, due to the issue of an amnesty. While there has been a profusion of provisions to allow victims to participate, avail of protection measures and reparations, in practice very little has changed for them. This article highlights the dangers of complementarity being the sole solution to protracted conflicts, in particular the realisation of victims’ rights.

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