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Ongwen Asks ICC To Spare Him From 'Further' Imprisonment :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Ongwen Asks ICC To Spare Him From 'Further' Imprisonment

Ongwen who made submissions at The Hague based court on Thursday during a mitigation session of his case noted that for 27 years since his abduction as a child by the LRA rebels, he lived in prison in captivity.
Dominic Ongwen. ICC photo

Audio 5

Dominic Ongwen, a former Commander in the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army has asked the International Criminal Court-ICC to spare him from further imprisonment since he has already spent a great part of his life from childhood in “prison”.

Appearing at The Hague based court on Thursday during the mitigation session; Ongwen noted that his 27-years life in captivity following abduction by the LRA rebels he was in prison.

He argued that he has cumulatively spent 33 years in prison including the six years and three months; he has spent in detention at The Hague-based court. He told the court that an additional prison sentence arising from the allegations against him at ICC would be too much of a punishment.

Luo

//cue in: “Ka nongo uparo…

Cue out:...alego bot wu.”//

  Translation"…if you care about my plight, you find a way to let me be free at least. Ever since the LRA abducted me, I have been in LRA for 27 years and was in prison, I came here and spent six years and three months I am still in prison, if you add this I have now been in prison for 33 years. If you add another sentence, that would be too much, it will be beyond God’s punishment to man, that’s my prayer...”

On February 4, 2021, The ICC Trial Chamber IX of The Hague based court found the former LRA Sania Brigade commander guilty of 61 out of the 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The crimes include murder, attempted murder, torture, enslavement, destruction of property, and conscripting children under the age of 15 into the Sania brigade, among other charges.   Court also found Ogwen guilty of leading attacks against the civilian population in Pajule IDP camp on October 10, 2003, Odek IDP camp on April 29, 2004, Lukodi IDP camp on May 19, 2004, and Abok IDP camps on June 29, 2004.

However, in his submission on Thursday, Ongwen denied taking part in the alleged attacks on Odek Internally Displaced People’s Camp, Pajule IDP camp, and sexual enslavement. He noted that the attack especially on Odek was carried out by Ben Acellam, who commanded the Oka battalion under Sania Brigade after his transfer by LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony from the Altar brigade in South Sudan.

Luo

//cue in: “ikare eno ni…

Cue out:… in aye icwal.”//

Ongwen said that although he passed the orders issued by Kony to Acellam, the mission was entirely conducted by Acellam since Kony was reportedly angry with his people from Odek.   

Luo

//cue in: "cwer cwiny pa...

cue out:...atiye i Uganda."

On Pajule IDP camp, Ongwen said the attack was planned by a local whom he didn’t disclose. Ongwen says that he did not lead the attack and notes that had it not been for the resident of Pajule who called Vincent Otti, the LRA had no plans of attacking Pajule.

Luo

//cue in: “Jo pajule pe…

Cue out:…me cito pajule.”//

In his submission that lasted nearly for an hour, Ongwen told the court harrowing tales of his “prison” life in captivity and admitted taking part in gruesome killings of civilians under duress from senior LRA commanders. He said that to date he spends sleepless nights in his cells and constantly visualizes the people he killed and hears the sound of guns.

Ongwen’s defence lawyer Krispus Ayena, told the court that Ongwen has outlived his hospitality in captivity and should be immediately released. He said if Ongwen is to be given any prison sentence, the defence prays for one that is minimal and shall afford him immediate release after deduction of the time spent in detention at The Hague.

//Cue in: “on our part…

Cue out:… him immediate release.”//

Bertram Schmitt, the Presiding Judge adjourned the sentencing hearing to May 6 this year.

“The Chamber will now retire to deliberate.  It will render the sentence with the reasoning on Thursday, 6 May at 11 o'clock and of course here in the courtroom the summary of the reasoning.”

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