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ICC Sets Date For Dominic Ongwen Judgement

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Ogwen whose trial started on December 6, 2016, is accused of 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Northern Uganda while with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Dominic Ongwen Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of the LRA charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the ICC
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has set January 12, the day it will deliver judgement in a case where the former Sinia Brigade commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army Dominic Ongwen is accused of war crimes.   This is according to a press release issued by the ICC dated, November 12 2020.

Ogwen whose trial started on December 6, 2016, is accused of 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Northern Uganda while with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).    

The judgment will be transmitted live via the ICC website, while practical information on attending the session and information materials will be availed in due course.

 

 “The verdict will be read out in public and will either acquit or convict the accused. The accused before the ICC is presumed innocent. While the Prosecution must prove the guilt of the accused, the Trial Chamber will convict the accused only if it is satisfied that the charges have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The Chamber bases its decision only on the applicable law and on evidence submitted and discussed before it at the trial.” the statement reads.  

 In the event Ongwen is convicted, he will be imprisoned for up to 30 years, or even life imprisonment may be imposed and the victims compensated.

Of the top LRA commanders, Ongwen would be the first to be convicted.  In July 2005, the court issued sealed arrest warrants for war crimes and crimes against humanity for the LRA’s top five commanders. They are Joseph Kony, Vincent Otti, Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen. Lukwiya was however killed in 2006 and Otti in 2007.

Odhiambo’s body meanwhile was found in the Central African Republic in early 2015 while Kony remains at large reportedly in the vast forests of the Central African Republic and DRC.   

  The Chamber to decide Ongwen’s fate is composed of Judge Bertram Schmitt, Presiding Judge, Judge Péter Kovács and Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan. The three judges ensure the fairness of the trial and that the rights of both parties and the victims are respected. In response to the verdict, the parties will be able to appeal the decision before the ICC's Appeals Chamber.

During the trial, the Chamber heard from 69 witnesses and experts called by the Office of the ICC Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, 54 witnesses and experts called by the Defence team lead by Krispus Ayena Odongo and 7 witnesses and experts called by the Legal Representatives of the Victims participating in the proceedings.  

   

 A total of 4,065 victims, represented by their legal counsels Joseph Akwenyu Manoba, and Francisco Cox, as well as Paolina Massidda, respectively, have been granted the right to participate in the proceedings. They have expressed their position on matters heard before the Chamber and were authorized to examine witnesses on specific issues.