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The Dilemma Of The White Ant

In northern Uganda, Esther Acan's husband and five year old child were hacked to death by LRA rebels and she was forced to kill her infant. She wants justice - at least punishment for the one who commanded the rebels. But the rest of the village who suffered similar atrocities say revenge will not solve their problems. It is better, they say, to forgive the perpetrators and let them come in from the bush in order to gain peace.

But Esther still wants justice, and she has high level support. The International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for Dominic Ongwen, the commander of the rebels who killed her husband and baby. He is to be tried for crimes against humanity. But he was also a victim of a crime, himself abducted by the LRA at the age of 10 and forced to fight for them.
Traditional justice has always allowed murderers to return to the community having compensated, shown remorse and appeased the spirits. Ugandan law accepted this concept through the Amnesty Act, and many LRA rebels are now back in the community having paid no price for the 20 years of killings, abductions and mass displacement of the population. But Ongwen will have to go to The Hague, so he is not coming out of the wilderness.
It leaves a dilemma for justice, but also for Esther. Despite wanting to testify and bring the perpetrators to account, she is scared. The war is not over. Ongwen and the others are still at large. She fears terrible retribution if she is seen with the ICC.

'The Dilemma Of The White Ant is a significant and powerful documentary that examines perspectives on the peace versus justice debate for those victimized by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. Through the eyes of perpetrators and victims, attempts to achieve peace and reconciliation are critically examined against the endeavors of the International Criminal Court to hold those responsible accountable for the massive human rights violations perpetrated there. It is an outstanding expose of the tensions and key issues that exist internationally about whether achieving justice must necessarily trump achieving peace and reconciliation in conflict ridden societies.' Dr. Jeremy Sarkin, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law, Hofstra University Law School, Member, United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

'Life 6 is a wonderfully educational series that presents the viewers with the dilemmas faced by specific individuals in the socio-historical and economic context of their communities in the midst of an increasingly globalized world. The tremendous value of this series is that, in the brief thirty minutes that each episode lasts, it captures the complexities of the lives of those in it as they face Western influence that force them to reassert, defend, or challenge their local and/or individual identities, cultures, governance, wealth distribution, and practices of achieving justice and reconciliation--to name a few...Life 6 represents these issues in an objective and analytical way that will--without question--lead into a discussion and debate about them by academics and lay audiences alike.' Aniuska Luna, African Peace and Conflict Network

'Designed to stimulate discussion and interest involving ethical conflict in the growing global world...Recommended for purchase for all libraries.' Gerald Notaro, University of South Florida, Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Pare, Caroline (film producer)
Pare, Caroline (film director)
Zosel, Barbara (editor of moving image work)
Bradshaw, Steve (editor of moving image work)
Bradshaw, Steve (narrator)
Acan, Esther (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Editor, Barbara Zosel; series editor, Steve Bradshaw.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Conflict Resolution
Developing World
Human Rights
Millennium Development Goals
Social Justice
United Nations
War and Peace
Women's Studies


Dominic Ongwen, LRA, war crimes, international criminal court, Uganda, Uganda law, Amnesty Act, The Hague, ICC; "The Dilemma Of The White Ant"; Bullfrog Films