Practice Relating to Rule 159. Amnesty
Section B. Prohibition on amnesty for war crimes
In 2008, in its written reply to the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Uganda’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Uganda stated:
The Amnesty (Amendment) Act, 2006 provides for Persons ineligible for amnesty as follows:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2 of the principal Act a person shall not be eligible for grant of amnesty if he or she is declared not eligible by the Minister by statutory instrument made with the approval of parliament.”
Formal [c]riminal and civil justice measures shall be applied to any individual who is alleged to have committed serious crimes or human rights violations in the course of the conflict.
In 2008, whilst responding to questions from the Committee on the Rights of the Child related to Uganda’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, the Ugandan delegate stated:
56. … [T]he five [captured] LRA [Lord’s Resistance Army] commanders were not subject to amnesty or pardon. On the other hand, children who had been abducted at the age of 12 and had in some cases reached the age of 30 tended to be seen as victims: they had been forced to commit crimes, sometimes against their own relatives, but were not necessarily considered criminals.
60. … [T]he  Amnesty Act included a provision denying amnesty to those who had committed heinous crimes during the armed conflict. The guilt experienced by those who had committed crimes against their own kin was indeed an important problem. However, following broad consultation among communities on how to deal with such offences, it was felt that the traditional justice system known as “mato oput” provided the best hope of cleansing and forgiveness. Those who feared to return to their own village were often taken in by other communities who saw them as victims caught up in the tragedy of war.
63. … [T]he question of women who might have borne several children to men who had abducted them and raped them over a period of years was a complex one. In psychosocial terms, a woman had to come to terms with the reality that the children were not only hers but also those of a man who had violated her. On the other hand, while such actions constituted crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it was necessary to decide whether peace or justice should come first. The victims had come forward and their captors must also be persuaded to come forward in order to move on to the next phase of restoring justice. The only way to achieve justice and peace at the same time was through the traditional “mato oput” system.