International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Authenticates Recordings of Intercepts of LRA Communications

A witness in the International Criminal Court (ICC) trial of Dominic Ongwen authenticated recordings he made of radio communications of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Trial lawyer Julien Elderfield spent Monday, January 30, playing selected parts of audio recordings of LRA radio communications, asking Witness P-059 to summarize what he heard and then confirm whether a transcript given to him reflected what he heard.

The transcripts in question were produced by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) after receiving the audio recordings from the Ugandan government. Witness P-059 had annotated the transcripts during previous interviews with OTP staff. His annotations were to correct mistakes or fill in the gaps where the audio recordings were unclear.

Witness P-059 is a serving member of Uganda’s Internal Security Organization (ISO), which he told the court on Friday has been eavesdropping on LRA radio communications since 2000. The witness said he was ISO’s main interceptor, and he recorded on cassette some of the radio communications he intercepted.

The audio recordings are part of the evidence the prosecution is presenting to Trial Chamber IX in its case against Ongwen, who has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Witness P-059 identified the voices of LRA leader, Joseph Kony; his then deputy, Vincent Otti; Ongwen; and several other commanders in the recordings. Some of the things he said he heard in the recordings were the different LRA leaders discussing what happened during some attacks the LRA carried out against civilians and Ugandan military bases, as well as Ugandan military attacks on them.

The charges against Ongwen include attacks between 2003 and 2004 on the Pajule, Odek, Abok, and Lukodi camps for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda. At the time of the attacks, the prosecution says Ongwen was a battalion commander and then brigade commander in the LRA. Other charges Ongwen is facing include forcibly marrying seven women, who were girls at the time, and committing sexual crimes against them.

Witness P-059 will continue to testify on Tuesday.

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