Oregon Law Review : Vol. 88 No. 3, p.621-702 : Complementarity and Alternative Justice
Gordon, Gregory S.
The Article demonstrates that, in light of the scale and brutality of the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (a northern Ugandan rebel group fighting the government of Yoweri Museveni) atrocities, the nature of the defendants, and the characteristics of the proposed mechanisms, the contemplated resort to alternative justice in Uganda will not pass complementarity muster. On the other hand, the Article shows that, in certain situations, some forms of alternative justice—especially multiple ones conjoined or tethered to other domestic judicial efforts—could conceivably pass the proposed complementarity admissibility test. Along the way, this analysis also helps illuminate our increasingly complex understanding of the relationship between international criminal law and domestic justice in atrocity situations. The essentially retributive nature of the former is evolving to make way for restorative goals, and at the same time, certain retributive characteristics are being incorporated into the latter as alternative justice mechanisms adapt to deal with the new and horrible phenomenon of mass atrocity. In the end, the Article shows that effective atrocity justice entails a proper division of labor between local restoration and global retribution. While complementarity could be the ideal medium to achieve that allocation, the proposed analytic criteria must be used to weave both peace and justice more seamlessly into the procedural fabric of international criminal law.