Since its independence in 1962, Uganda has experienced three decades of military coups, authoritarian rule and violent conflict. It is estimated that over 300,000 people have died during this period and that 1.8 million people were displaced at the height of the conflict in the north.
In 1986, rebels overthrew the sitting government, leading to the rise to power of current President Yoweri Museveni. Since, the country has not suffered new coups. However, armed rebellion continues, though with decreased intensity, and peace negotiations with the northern rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army collapsed in 2008.
Following the 1986 rebel overthrow, the government adopted amnesties and established a truth commission to investigate human rights abuses committed since independence. Prior to this, a commission of inquiry was set up in 1974 to investigate disappearances following the military coup led by Idi Amin in 1971.
To address the human rights abuses committed in the context of the northern conflict, the government promulgated an Amnesty Act in 2000, while at the same time referring the situation in the north to the International Criminal Court in 2004. Following agreements on reconciliation and accountability adopted as part of the Juba Peace Talks (2006-2008), the government established an International Crimes Division at the High Court in Kampala in 2011, and pledged to support traditional justice efforts.
Since 1986, the country has experienced relative political stability, an improvement in human rights and multiparty rule was instituted in 2005. However the Constitution was revised that same year to remove limits on presidential terms and restrictions remain on political activities by the opposition. The country is moreover marked by growing levels of corruption and divisions within the ruling party.


  • 28/05/2015. Chandra Sriram’s field research in Uganda. Elizabeth Rhoads. Chandra Sriram recently returned from field work in Uganda. Follow the link to read more about her experience and preliminary observations.
  • 13/03/2014. Valerie Arnould’s Fieldwork in Uganda. Elizabeth Rhoads. In January-February 2014, Dr. Valerie Arnould undertook field research in Uganda for the TJDI project. For her an account of her trip and preliminary findings, click the link above.