Case #2182.0

Giving Peace a Chance: The 2006-2008 Negotiations to End the Conflict in Northern Uganda

Publication Date: December 19, 2019
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The case covers the two-year, on-again off-again negotiation between the Government of Uganda and the fearsome rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony. The negotiations marked a historic moment for many reasons. After decades of failing to root out Kony and his rebel army capable of horrific acts of violence, and faced with millions of internally displaced people, the Ugandan government embarked on peace talks with the LRA. But neither party had come to the negotiating table willingly. Kony faced arrest by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity and the Ugandan government faced pressure from international donors and the pan-African leadership to find a peaceful solution to a long-simmering conflict. In the end, the negotiations didn’t result in a peace agreement and Kony remained at-large, but these historic talks provide much fodder for analysis for students of negotiation and raise many critical questions, including on whether to pursue peace or justice.

The case package includes a 16-minute video featuring an interview with Ruhakana Rugunda, the Government of Uganda’s chief negotiator, and a 3:11-minute video where Luis Moreno Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, talks about the Court’s role. Rugunda’s video consists of 11 clips that can be played separately during the class session to frame specific discussions, such as Kony and the ICC and what success would have looked like for the government.

Learning Objective:
As an example of a negotiation that ultimately did not achieve its goal, the Juba peace process offers several important insights. Students will be able to deepen their understanding of the following negotiation concepts:

Getting the Set Up Right;
Robert Putnam’s Two-level Game;
Principal-Agent dynamics;
William Zartman’s Ripeness Theory;
Pre-Negotiation; and

The case also enables students to closely analyze several thorny tensions:

Looking Forwards vs. Backwards;
Justice vs. Peace;
Internationalizing the Process vs. Keeping It Local; and
Working with Those Who Committed Acts of “Evil” vs. Going Around Them.

Listen to podcast featuring Lecturer Rob Wilkinson describe his motivations behind creating this case and his experience teaching it.


Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Anjani Datla
Faculty Lead:
Robert Wilkinson
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan
Funding Source:
Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research