By anonymous Over a year ago, Standplaats Wereld reported on a documentary, screened on Dutch tv, dealing with issues of peace and justice in Uganda. What role, if any, can the International Criminal Court play in bringing peace and/or justice to Uganda? That was the question addressed by in ‘Peace versus Justice’ back in 2009. Meanwhile, the ICC concluded its first case on 14 March 2012, convicting Thomas Lubanga, a Congolese warlord, of the use of child soldiers.
Critics have argued that Lubanga is a ‘small fish’ compared to other suspects wanted by the ICC, such as Joseph Kony, who was suddenly made world famous after the Kony2012 campaign was initiated by an American advocacy group earlier this month. This campaign gained mass popularity in the social media, and has since stirred a lot of discussion between avid campaigning advocates and equally fierce opponents.
The latter have pointed out that Joseph Kony committed his gravest crimes several years ago, that the region where he used to operate is no longer the scene of violence, and that the man himself is thought to be hiding outside Uganda. They have also questioned the organisation’s fundraising activities and its spending patterns. If there is one thing the Kony2012 case shows, however, it is that these types of campaigns are uniquely capable of creating worldwide attention and putting old (and often forgotten) issues back on the international agenda.
How will a campaign to ‘make Kony famous’ improve the chances that, seven years after his arrest warrant was issued, Kony will now be handed over to the ICC? Does Uganda’s future depend on American activism and the users of social media? And more fundamentally, should the victims of the conflict in Uganda not have a more prominent voice in such calls for justice, as well as in decisions about the future of their country? In short, who actually benefits from this increased international attention?
The updated version of ‘Peace versus Justice’, which will screen on 25 March on Hollanddoc24 (see also here and here), will address the issue of international involvement in the aftermath of Uganda’s conflict.
For further discussion on the Kony2012 campaign, the following sources are a very small selection of the extensive debate about Kony2012 that is currently taking place online: