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The Capture of the White Ant

Lecture | February 11 | 2 p.m. | 223 Moses Hall


Adam Branch, Associate Professor, Dept of Political Science at San Diego State University

Center for African Studies, Center on the Politics of Development


The capture of Dominic Ongwen, commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, has come at the ideal time for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The collapse of its high-profile case against Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya, is just the most recent crisis for a court accused of being a tool of neo-colonialism, of wrecking peace processes, and of imposing Western justice over African justice. Will the trial of Ongwen help save the ICC project, allowing the court to prove that it is an effective agent for peace and justice in the African continent? Or will it expose further the moral, political, and legal dilemmas that have afflicted the court since it began operations thirteen years ago? The capture of Ongwen and the debates it has sparked provide an opportunity for re-thinking the politics of political violence and justice in Uganda, and throughout Africa, today.


Adam Branch is Associate Professor, Department of Political Science at San Diego State University. From 2011-2014, he was senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda. He is the author of Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda (Oxford, 2011), a critique of human rights intervention into Uganda’s civil war. He is also co-author of the forthcoming Africa Uprising: Popular Politics and Political Change (Zed Books, 2015), on the ongoing wave of popular urban protest throughout Africa.


510-642-8338