Seminar: Transitional justice where there Is no transition: A focus on Uganda

Transitional Justice is generally associated with aspirations for change and progress in the wake of violence and turmoil. In Africa, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission became emblematic of transitional justice, associated with momentous political change, a falling away of old frameworks and the creation of new opportunities for peoples who have suffered extensive abuse and violations under past regimes. But are there places where transitional justice – or ‘TJ’ as self-defined experts like to refer to their area of work – is becoming the opposite of what it set out to be? Can it be said that, rather than bringing in the new, it is instead being co-opted to legitimate the continued existence of the old? This seminar, using a case study from Uganda, encourages participants to explore whether or not the emancipatory potential of the field of transitional justice is being undermined and, if so, whether this trend can still be reversed.

Please note that this seminar will be held on a Monday, not on our regular Thursday.


Chris Dolan has a PhD from the London School of Economics (2005) and has worked extensively with a range of organizations in Africa, Europe and South East Asia on issues related to conflict, forced migration, governance, gender and sexuality. His recent publications include ‘Has Patriarchy Been Stealing the Feminist’s Clothes? Conflict-Related Sexual Violence and UN Security Council Resolutions’ (IDS Bulletin 45:1 80-64) and Where Law Meets Reality: Forging African Transitional Justice that he co-edited with M. Okello (2012: Pambazuka Press). His cross-disciplinary book entitled Social Torture: The Case of Northern Uganda, 1986-2006 (Berghahn Books) was published in 2009. He has been Director of the Refugee Law Project at Makerere University, Kampala since July 2006.

Date, time and location

20 October 2014
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 3A06