In November 2004, the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice in collaboration with ISIS-WICCE (Uganda) conducted a field mission to Northern Uganda to consult with women victims/survivors of the 18 year conflict. The field consultations were to inform women about the International Criminal Court (ICC), to document their experiences of the conflict, to hear their ideas, priorities and pursuits for justice and peace for their communities and to advocate for gender based crimes in Northern Uganda to be investigated and prosecuted by the ICC.
During this mission we met with women’s groups, NGOs, local leaders, and many victims/survivors of the conflict. We visited several camps for internally displaced people (IDP) and a number of shelters for ‘night commuters’ (mostly women and children) who come into townships from the IDP camps every evening for safety. In total we met with approximately 500 people, the majority of whom were women, and conducted 20 individual ‘interviews’ with victims of the conflict. During the field consultations the high levels and multi-layered nature of violence committed against women and girls, and the wide range of perpetrators became increasingly apparent.
Objectives of the Field Consultations (doc)
Advocacy and Outreach
During 2005 we continued to work closely with women’s groups in Northern Uganda to keep them informed of progress of the ICC’s investigations and in turn to hear their views on the work of the Court, updates on developments in the north, and community perceptions of the Court’s investigations. We reflected these issues in our advocacy work with the Court specifically focusing on the need for the ICC to initiate outreach as early as possible, the need to provide information to local communities about the Court as an institution for justice, to address fears about the possible impact of ICC investigations on the peace negotiations, to consult with community leaders including women, and to begin building relationships with victims communities to inform them of the Court’s work and their rights regarding participation and reparations under the Rome Statute.
In July 2005 we returned to Uganda for meetings with the legal community and NGOs to further develop our plans and work in Uganda. During these meetings and based on our ongoing dialogue with women’s groups in the North the following training priorities were identified:
- Information about the International Criminal Court, including the rights of victims to participate in Court proceedings and apply for reparations
- The legal rights of women in Uganda in relation to domestic and other forms of violence;
- Fund raising to establish and develop local groups and organisations to promote the rights and recovery of women in the conflict in Northern Uganda.
Due to security issues in Northern Uganda in December 2005 this training was postponed and will now be held in Lira, Northern Uganda, during 2006.
Training for Lawyers on:
- The Rome Statute, including the gender mandates in Statute and relevant jurisprudence from the international ad hoc tribunals;
- The rights of victims and witnesses including the right for victims participation and for legal representation;
- Promote the List of Legal Counsel to encourage Ugandan lawyers, including women, to apply to be recognized by the ICC to represent victims;
- Promote the international gender standards established by the Rome Statute and support local law reform efforts to promote the legal and human rights of women in Uganda.
This training will be held in Kampala, Uganda in 2006.
Our training programme in Uganda is a collaboration between ISIS-WICCE, FIDA – Uganda Women’s Lawyers Association and the Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice.
Other activities in Uganda 2006-2008
- Development of a communication strategy with women in Northern Uganda to inform and consult them on developments at the Court including at the time of arrests, the pre-trial stage, and the initiation and progress of trials.
- Host a ‘Roundtable meeting’ of lawyers and human rights advocates on the ICC, and it’s international and national applicability for Uganda.
- Needs Assessment Initiative – this programme will work with local women’s groups to assess the rehabilitation needs of women victims/survivors of the conflict. Its purpose is to support women to rebuild their lives and their communities and enable their participation in the justice process.
- Co-organise with local women’s NGOs, a Community Forum – ‘Kacoke’ for women to assess the outcomes for justice provided by the ICC; to assess the impact of the Court on the situation in Northern Uganda; assess the effectiveness of the Court as an institution providing accountability for perpetrators of egregious crimes specifically gender based crimes; assess what has been gained for the women of Northern Uganda through the process of the ICC; and identify the most pressing issues for women in terms of justice, rehabilitation and re-settlement, education and promoting women’s human and legal rights.