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Guilty: ICC convicts ex-LRA commander Dominic Ongwen of war crimes & crimes against humanity

Dominic Ongwen in the ICC. Courtesy Photo

CONVICTED: The International Criminal Court (ICC) Trial Chamber IX has found former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen guilty of a total of 61 crimes, comprising both crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ongwen committed the crimes in Northern Uganda between July 01, 2002 and December 31, 2005.

He was facing 70 crimes but the trial chamber acquitted him of a few.

Ongwen is the first LRA commander and rebel to appear and become convicted by the ICC.

The court had issued an arrest warrant for Ongwen in 2005.

But he surrendered in 2014 in the Central African Republic, ending the Ugandan military’s search for him.

A year earlier, the US had pledged a $5m prize for anyone with information about Ongwen’s whereabouts.

His prosecution and trial would then begin after his surrender in 2014, ending in March 2020 ahead of today’s verdict.

Both a victim and perpetrator, Ongwen, through his lawyers, had prayed for acquittal.

“When Ongwen was abducted he had no option, he was made a slave. That slavery continued until he left the bush,” his lawyers told the ICC.

Ongwen was abducted at the age of 10 on his way to school and forced to join Joseph Kony’s LRA, but court reasoned that by the time of the commission of the crimes, he was an adult and responsible for his actions.

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