International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Says Ongwen Told Him He Targeted the Barracks in Odek Attack, Not Civilians

A former long-serving member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) Dominic Ongwen told him he sent fighters to attack the barracks at Odek, but civilians were caught in the crossfire and were also killed.

Witness P-085 told the court on Friday, February 23, he had this conversation with Ongwen about a 2004 LRA attack on Odek sometime after the attack. He said he first heard about the attack on FM radio, and when he met Ongwen he asked him about what he heard on radio.

The witness testified on Friday and Monday in the trial of Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen has been charged with 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies About Being Given as a “Wife” to Two LRA Fighters

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that while she was in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) she was in the same group as Dominic Ongwen, and one of the soldiers under his command raped her.

Witness P-448 stuck to her testimony on Thursday as two of Ongwen’s lawyers challenged her on whether she was in Ongwen’s group or a different group within the LRA. She said it was possible she mixed up names, but she was sure she was in Ongwen’s group.

Ongwen, a former LRA commander, has been charged with eight counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in indirectly committing sexual and gender-based crimes, such as forced marriage, sexual slavery, and rape.

He has … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Water, Food, Clothing Became Harder to Get for the LRA in 2003

A former member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) what he did during attacks on the Abok, Lukodi, and Odek camps for internally displaced people (IDP) 13 years ago.

Witness P-406, who testified between Monday and Wednesday this week, also described to the court how the LRA abducted him when he was 16 years old and his duties as an escort to a number of LRA commanders. He was the first witness to testify when the court resumed hearings on February 19 after a two-week break.

Witness P-406 is the 62nd prosecution witness to testify in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen has been charged for his alleged role in the … Continue Reading

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Witness Says He was Under Ongwen’s Command, Defense Doubts It

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) about his abduction 15 years ago and his role in an attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP).

Witness P-307 also told the court what he did as an escort in the LRA for the approximately two years he was with the group. Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lead lawyer for Dominic Ongwen, challenged Witness P-307’s testimony that he was a member of a group under the command of Ongwen.

Ongwen is on trial at the ICC for crimes he is alleged to have committed while he was a commander in the LRA’s Sinia brigade between July 2002 and December 2005. He has been charged … Continue Reading

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Witness Sobs as He Testifies About LRA Attack on Odek

A former fighter for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) about two attacks on camps for internally displaced people (IDP) 13 years ago, at times sobbing as he described his role in the attacks on Odek and Lukodi.

Witness P-410 also told the court on Wednesday, January 31, about how he tried to save the lives of a family during the Lukodi attack in 2004, but another LRA fighter later locked them in their home and burned them alive.

The witness testified between Wednesday, January 31, and Thursday, February 1, during the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Witness P-410 said he was abducted when he was 14 years old and spent his time with … Continue Reading

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Civil Society in Uganda Outraged by Controversial Newspaper Article Clearing Ugandan Army of Committing War Crimes

As the trial of Dominic Ongwen continues at the International Criminal Court (ICC), civil society practitioners and community members in Uganda were left infuriated by a newspaper article purporting that the ICC had cleared the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) of war crimes in northern Uganda. The article appeared in the New Vision newspaper on January 4, 2018, titled: “ICC Clears UPDF of War Crimes,” and immediately resulted in strong reactions on Facebook and questions on Twitter, as well as on other social media platforms. As it turned out, however, the headline and portions of the accompanying article were taken out of context.

The authors of the article based their headline on remarks by Dahirou Sant-Anna, the international cooperation adivisor in … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies About LRA Commander Repeatedly Raping and Beating Her

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) she was repeatedly subjected to sexual violence by a commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army to whom she had been given as “wife.”

Witness P-374 told the court on Tuesday she was abducted by members of the LRA’s Sinia brigade, and she was given to a commander in that brigade. At the time she of her abduction, the witness said that she was in Primary Six, or the sixth year of primary school.

The witness testified in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, who has been charged with crimes he is alleged to have committed while a commander in Sinia brigade between July 2002 and December 2005. He is facing eight counts of war crimes … Continue Reading

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Defense and Prosecution Spar over Witnesses, then Compromise

The lead prosecutor in the trial of a former Ugandan rebel commander, Dominic Ongwen, has agreed not to contest the right of the defense to object in future submissions to the testimony of prosecution witnesses who do not fall strictly within the parameters of the charges against Ongwen.

Senior trial lawyer Benjamin Gumpert told the court on Thursday he made the commitment so that the defense did not have to argue the issue each time the prosecution brought a witness whose testimony included evidence outside the scope of the charges against Ongwen.

Gumpert made the commitment after Ongwen’s lead lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo, argued against Witness P-372 testifying. Thursday was the second time last week the defense objected to the testimony of … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies About the Difficulty of Returning Home After Being an LRA “Wife”

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) she was in the household of Dominic Ongwen for eight months before she was later on given as a “wife” to another commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Witness P-366 told the court on Wednesday the LRA abducted her twice in 2000, and she described to the court some of her experiences in the LRA after her second abduction. Charles Taku, one of Ongwen’s lawyers, challenged her account about being in Ongwen’s household.

Ongwen, a former LRA commander, has been charged with eight counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in indirectly committing sexual and gender-based crimes such as forced marriage, sexual slavery, and enslavement. He is alleged … Continue Reading

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Defense Lawyer Asks Witness Whether He is Confused About Ongwen Abducting Him

A defense lawyer questioned Witness P-200 on whether he was confused over who it was in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who abducted him and whether he also mixed up which LRA group he served in.

Abigail Bridgman, one of Dominic Ongwen’s lawyers, told the witness on Tuesday that Ongwen was not in the area he was taken from when the abduction occurred. Witness P-200 insisted Ongwen is the one who abducted him, and Ongwen was his commander while in the LRA.

Ongwen is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC). He has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity that he is alleged to have committed in northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005. … Continue Reading

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