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4,000 LRA Victims to Participate in Ongwen Trial

Through their legal representatives, victims are accorded participation right to consult the record of the files, right to be notified of documents filed, general right to attend and participate in case hearings, make written submissions or observations and question witnesses. Trial Chambers might grant additional rights.
Josephine Atim, the ICC Field Officer in Kampala

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Over 4000 victims from Northern Uganda will participate in the trail of Dominic Ongwen, the former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander.

The trial of Ongwen, one of the five LRA commanders indicted in 2005, is due to start on Tuesday December 6th at The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

Josephine Atim, the ICC Field Officer in Kampala told URN that only victims who suffered the brutality of Sinia Brigade rebels led by Dominic Ongwen between 2002 and 2005 will participate. 

//Cue in: "Only victims……….

Cue out….Dominic Ongwen."//

Prosecutors believe that 41-year-old Ongwen was in charge of Sinia Brigade of the LRA when it carried out brutal attacks on civilians in at least four Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. 

He now faces 70 counts of charges war crimes and crimes against humanity and will be represented by a team of 11 lawyers. On 23 March 2016, Pre-Trial Chamber II confirmed the charges and committed Ongwen to trial.

The trial stems from crimes allegedly committed between 2003 and 2005 during attacks in IDP camps of Pajule-Lapul in October 2003, Odek in April 2004, Lukodi in May 2004 and Abok in June 2004.

A total of 2,063 victims in the case areas led by two lawyers; Joseph Akwenyu Manoba and Francisco Cox were the first to apply to ICC between June and October, 2015 and were granted victims' status by the Chambers to participate at Ongwen's Pre-Trial.

Between July and September 2016, a second group of 2046 applicants through the same process, applied through their Counsel Paolina Massida from the Office for Public Counsel as Common Legal Representatives of the victims. They were assisted by Jane Adong Anywar and were granted victims status. This brings the number of people granted victims' status to 4,109.

Through their legal representatives, victims are accorded participation right to consult the record of the files; right to be notified of documents filed, general right to attend and participate in case hearings; make written submissions or observations and question witnesses. Trial Chambers might grant additional rights.

At the peak of the LRA insurgency in 2006, Ongwen was one of the most senior commanders. He hails from Coo-rom village, Kilak County, Amuru district in Northern Uganda. He was surrendered to the ICC on January 16, 2015 after being captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

If convicted, Ongwen could serve a maximum jail sentence of 30 years or life imprisonment.

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