Ongwen Defense Seeks to Know What Season it was When Odek Attack Occurred

A defense lawyer questioned a former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) about his knowledge of an attack on the Odek camp for internally displaced people (IDP). The witness previously testified that he participated in the attack.

Charles Taku, representing former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen in his trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), asked Witness P-314 on Wednesday what season it was when the attack on Odek took place and which direction the LRA approached Odek from.

The April 2003 attack on Odek is one of the crimes Ongwen is alleged to have participated in. He is also on trial for his alleged role in attacks on three other IDP camps in northern Uganda: Pajule, Abok, and Lukodi. The attacks took place between 2003 and 2004.  Today there are no IDP camps in northern Uganda where the LRA used to be active because the group ceased its attacks there in 2006.

In total, Ongwen is facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Witness P-314 testified about his role in the attack on Odek on Tuesday. During Taku’s cross-examination of the witness’s testimony on Wednesday, Witness P-314 told the court the sun was in front of them as they marched to Odek.

“In other words … you are suggesting that you approached Odek from the east?” asked Taku.

“Yeah, we approached Odek from the east,” replied the witness.

Taku asked the witness whether the attack took place in the dry season or the rainy season.

“That time I think I can say that the dry season had just ended and we were approaching the rainy season,” Witness P-314 said.

“Was there heavy rain during the period you went to Odek? The day before, the day after, was there rain in Odek?” asked Taku.

“I don’t recall,” answered the witness.

Taku also questioned the witness about whether the LRA crossed the Aswa River on their way to Odek. The witness said they did not cross the river.

Ongwen’s lawyer also asked Witness P-314 about whether when they were ordered to go and loot food from civilians, if they were also ordered to kill them. The witness said killing happened.

Taku persisted in asking the witness about this several times, seeking to know whether they were ever given explicit orders to kill and each time the witness said killing occurred.

Witness P-314 will continue testifying on Thursday.