International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Says He Heard LRA Leader Joseph Kony Wanted to Attack Pajule, Not Odek

Witness P-275, a survivor of an attack on the Odek camp for internally displaced people 13 years ago, testified before the International Criminal Court last week. Lawyers challenged the witness about his recollection of when he escaped the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and what he knew about the Odek attack.

Witness P-275 told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he never saw Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander on trial at the ICC, during the time he was an abductee of the LRA. The witness said he was abducted when the LRA attacked Odek in April 2004.

Charles Taku, a lawyer representing Ongwen, doubted Witness P-275 when he told the court he was with the LRA for up to two and a … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Ugandan Government Soldiers Feared Ongwen

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who served under Dominic Ongwen told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Ugandan army soldiers feared Ongwen, preferring to ambush Ongwen’s group rather than confront them in battle.

On November 2, Witness P-231 testified that he was a member of the LRA’s Oka battalion when Ongwen was the battalion commander.

He described Ongwen as “very knowledgeable” in military matters, which he said was one of the reasons government soldiers often did not pursue Ongwen’s unit after they had attacked a place.

“For that matter, government soldiers rarely followed us. If they want[ed] to fight us they would ambush us,” said Witness P-231.

Ongwen is on trial for his alleged role in attacks on the Abok, … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part Three): Community Members’ Suggestions for Increasing Interest in Dominic Ongwen’s ICC Trial

This article explores suggestions from community members in northern Uganda regarding what needs to be done to increase public interest in the trial of Dominic Ongwen. The article follows two previous International Justice Monitor posts that present results from a rapid assessment conducted in September 2017 involving 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda. The assessment aimed to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen, and established that 56% of the respondents were following the trial, while 44% said they were not following the trial. The third and last post in the series examines views from the participants on how public interest in following the trial can be enhanced.

Ongwen, a former commander … Continue Reading

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Witness Names Senior LRA Commanders Who Planned and Organized Pajule Attack

A witness described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) some of the habits of the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joseph Kony, as well as his reasons for fighting a rebellion in northern Uganda.

Witness P-138 told the court that Kony remained in Sudan while most of his senior officers and fighters were in Uganda. However, Kony never stayed in one place in Sudan, according to the witness. The witness also testified that Kony wanted to become Uganda’s president and that Kony would claim he was not fighting for the Acholi, Kony’s ethnic group.

The witness, who testified between October 30 and November 1, was with the LRA for about eight years. During that time he served under Vincent Otti, … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part Two): Why 44% of Community Members in Northern Uganda Are Not Following Ongwen’s Trial

Last week, the International Justice Monitor published the first part of a three part series presenting results from a rapid assessment conducted in September 2017. The assessment involved 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda and set out to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen. While 56% of the respondents consulted said they were following the trial, many of them also admitted that they were only following occasionally or on an irregular basis. The remaining 44% of the respondents said they were not following the trial at all. This second post in the series examines views from the participants who said they were not following the trial, and in particular, … Continue Reading

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Gauging Public Interest (Part One): Survey Reveals That Over 56% of Community Members and CSO Representatives are Following Ongwen’s Trial

This article, the first in a series of three posts, uses results from a rapid assessment of 50 community members and civil society representatives in northern Uganda in September 2017 to measure the level of public interest in following the trial of Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC). While 56% of respondents said they were following the trial, many of them admitted they were only following on an irregular basis. The remaining 44% said they were not following the trial at all, citing a variety of reasons ranging from busy schedules to a lack of interest because the trial is taking place far away from Uganda. The findings also revealed that radio is the most popular method by … Continue Reading

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Community Members React to ICC Witness’s Testimony That He Did Not Know of Atrocities by Ugandan Government Soldiers

On October 3, the director of legal services at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Nabaasa Kanyogonya, denied knowledge of allegations that military commanders of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) committed atrocities in northern Uganda. This was in response to a question by Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lead lawyer for Dominic Ongwen, asking him to “confirm to the court whether there were hues and cries about incidents of indiscipline of UPDF officers in the prosecution of the war against the LRA.” Kanyogonya responded, “I do not know of any commanders of the UPDF committing atrocities in the war against the LRA.” This article presents reactions to Kanyogonya’s testimony in the community in northern Uganda.

Kanyogonya made the comments … Continue Reading

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Witness Tells Court How Tape Recordings of LRA Radio Communications Were Enhanced

A prosecution forensic officer described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) how he and a colleague enhanced speech in recordings of radio communications of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that Ugandan security agencies intercepted more than a decade ago.

Xavier Laroche told the court on Thursday that he and Sabina Zanetta only enhanced speech from cassette recordings of LRA radio communications that were intercepted by Ugandan security agencies. Laroche said they did not authenticate the cassette tapes or carry out any other investigation on the tapes.

Laroche was testifying in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander who has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Ongwen has been charged for his alleged role in … Continue Reading

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Witness Who Survived Pajule Attack Says No One in LRA Spoke About Ongwen Taking Part in Attack

A survivor of the October 2003 attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that during his time with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) no one told him Dominic Ongwen participated in the attack.

Witness P-081 told the court on Wednesday that he saw or heard about other LRA commanders who took part in the attack, such as then deputy LRA leader Vincent Otti, but did not see or hear about Ongwen taking part in the attack on Pajule.

Ongwen has been charged with 10 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the October 10, 2003 attack on Pajule. He has also been charged for his alleged role in … Continue Reading

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Witness Denies Allegations that Ugandan Army Commanders Committed Atrocities in Northern Uganda

A defense lawyer questioned how Ugandan intelligence agencies could have given evidence on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) months before the court issued an arrest warrant for five LRA commanders.

Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lead lawyer for Dominic Ongwen, challenged witness Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Nabaasa Kanyogonya on how he determined what evidence to give the ICC in 2004 without an arrest warrant. On Tuesday, Kanyogonya said he was a lawyer and was competent to assess what the ICC may need.

Kanyogonya was testifying as the person who liaised between various Ugandan intelligence agencies and the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), handling requests for information and other matters. Kanyogonya is the director of legal services at the … Continue Reading

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