International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

No peace and no justice- what happens when the debate between the two leaves nations with neither?

While reading “Justice in Conflict? The ICC and Peace Processes” by Nick Grono and Adam O’Brien, I found their observation that “peace deals that sacrifice justice often fail to produce peace” very compelling.  In our discussions and readings of the dichotomy between peace and justice, and those who advocate for one or the other, there is certainly a possibility that neither will come to fruition.

This observation is certainly an apt counterargument to ICC critics who assert that the arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and other LRAs leaders are inhibiting the peace process in Uganda; it is reasonable to think that, once granted amnesty from the international courts, the LRA would continue their reign of terror in northern Uganda in spite of peace treaties signed in Kampala.

Moreover, I think this type of scenario would pose an even greater challenge to the international community – if peace deals fail to protect victims from the violence they aimed to halt, and justice has been sacrificed in the name of protecting those victims, how must the international community respond then?

Grono and O’Brien point to Foday Sankoh in Sierra Leone and Jonas Savimbi in Angola as examples of places where violence continued after peace treaties were signed.  Can anyone think of other examples of post-conflict nations where this ‘no peace, no justice’ label might apply?

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One response to “No peace and no justice- what happens when the debate between the two leaves nations with neither?

  1. alexdavis073192 December 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

    As opponents to the ICC position in Uganda note, peace and justice are not mutually exclusive events. If the ICC were to withdraw its arrest warrants against Kony and other LRA leaders, it does not rule out prosecutorial paths in the future.

    Similarly, one of the bedrock foundations of any justification of international transitional justice programs, is the dignity of human life. Humans are valued as the most important units in the international system. The thought process that should serve as a lynchpin to an justice programs should be, “Does this policy best protect the dignity of life in the reconciliatory program of the new regime.” Until the ICC shows the ability to actually enforce its arrest warrant in a reliable fashion, I believe that peace now, and justice later in Uganda best serves the interest of the individuals who are still suffering in the conflict, with prosecutorial strategies to combat impunity and deter future abuses taking place in the future.

    Having said this, my thoughts on the matter are not completely set in stone. I am persuaded by the argument that the ICC warrant has pressured Kony and the LRA to stop committing widespread atrocities, and come to the table. I just wonder if it is now rational for Kony and the LRA to actually sign a treaty, and stop the violence, as it is likely the top commanders would then stand trial at the hague.

    Basically if the ICC thinks it can actually capture Kony and the top leaders, i believe justice now, peace later is the correct policy. But if not, the ugandan populace is caught in the crosshairs of international justice politics.

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