Document Type


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Journal of International Criminal Justice

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Harnessing an interdisciplinary framework that merges elements of law and social science, this article aims to recast the crime of forced marriage, and thereby enhance accountability, in light of knowledge acquired through ethnographic fieldwork in northern Uganda. More specifically, we draw upon the perspectives and experiences of 20 men who were "bush husbands" in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). These men were abducted by the LRA between the ages of 10 and 38 and spent between 6 and 24 years in captivity. During their time in the LRA, these men became ‘bush husbands’ with each man fathering between 1 and 11 children. In-depth interviews explored men’s perspectives and experiences related to sexual violence, forced marriage, parenthood and post-war accountability. The data reveal the complexity of men’s self-identified positions not only as high-ranking members of the LRA, but also as captives of the LRA, as victims of forced marriage, as perpetrators, and as caring fathers and husbands. These findings nuance extant understandings and assumptions of men and masculinities in the context of forced marriage. Drawing from these findings, we articulate several key implications for law — notably, that law acknowledges the harms that the crime of forced marriage and sexual violence affects and imposes on all implicated parties, including boys, girls, men, and women.



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