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Even eating you can bite your tongue: dynamics and challenges of the Juba peace talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army

Schomerus, Mareike (2012) Even eating you can bite your tongue: dynamics and challenges of the Juba peace talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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RUNNER-UP for the Cedric Smith Prize 2014, a prize for the best piece of peace and conflict research awarded by the Conflict Research Society. NOMINATED for Peace Science Society's 2014 Walter Isard Award for the Best Dissertation in Peace Science. This thesis offers an alternative narrative why the Juba Peace Talks between the Government of Uganda and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its political wing, the Lord’s Resistance Movement (LRM), did not produce a Final Peace Agreement. Widely considered the most promising peace effort in the history of a violent conflict that began in 1986, talks were mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan from 2006 to 2008. During this time, the parties signed five separate agreements on a range of issues, yet in 2008 the LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony, failed to endorse them through a final signature. An aerial attack on the LRA by the Ugandan army spelled the end of the Juba Talks. It is commonly argued that as the first peace talks conducted with people wanted by the International Criminal Court, the Juba Talks collapsed because the arrest warrants made a negotiated agreement impossible. Another widely accepted reason is that the LRA/M were not committed to peace. This thesis, however, argues that how the LRA/M experienced the muddled and convoluted peace talks was the crucial factor because the dynamics of the process confirmed existing power dynamics. Internally, the LRA/M’s dynamics were profoundly influenced by their perception of being trapped in an established hostile system, causing a struggle to transform their own dynamics constructively. Offering an analytical chronology of the Juba Talks with an empirical emphasis on the perspective of the LRA/M and an analysis of LRA/M structures and behavioural patterns that emerged in the process, this thesis further outlines that judging success or failure of a peace process on whether agreements have been signed is misplaced. Despite not producing a final agreement, the Juba Talks contributed to peace and change in Uganda.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Mareike Schomerus
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Vlassenroot, Koen and Allen, Tim

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