International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Testifies about Forced Marriage and Rape by LRA Commander

A witness described to judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) some of the sexual violence she said she suffered after she was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) about 13 years ago. Between November 8th and 9th, Witness P-396 testified in the ICC’s trial of Dominic Ongwen about her time as a “wife” in the LRA.

Witness P-396 told the court that Dominic Ongwen, who is on trial at the ICC, forced her to become a “wife” to an LRA commander. She said that the commander raped her that same night.

Abigail Bridgman, one of Ongwen’s lawyers, doubted Witness P-396 could have met Ongwen because during the time she was in the LRA, Ongwen was not in the Lango area … Continue Reading

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Witness Recounts His Alleged Torture by Ugandan Army After He Escaped the LRA

A survivor of a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in Uganda described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) how Ugandan government soldiers allegedly tortured him for up to three weeks.

Dick Okot testified that he was abducted by the LRA during its attack on the Pajule camp 14 years ago. He later escaped the LRA, he said. He told the court that after he escaped, he spent as many as six weeks with different units of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF). Some of those units tortured him, the witness claimed.

He testified about his experiences with the LRA and UPDF during the ICC trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen … Continue Reading

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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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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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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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Ugandan Army Officer Says He was Unaware of LRA Warning About Pajule Attack

The Ugandan army commander responsible for protecting the Pajule camp for internally displaced people told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he was not aware the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) warned of an attack months before the group hit the camp.

On September 28, John Lubwama told the court that he did not know about a letter the LRA sent warning of another attack on Pajule after the camp had been attacked in January 2003. Lubwama also said he did not hear reports of an impending attack from either residents of Pajule or abductees who had escaped the LRA.

Lubwama commanded a unit made of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers and militiamen that was responsible for protecting Pajule when it was attacked … Continue Reading

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Military Lawyer Says Uganda Gave ICC Evidence on 15 LRA Commanders

One of Uganda’s top military lawyers told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the evidence Uganda’s intelligence agencies gave to the court went beyond information on just Dominic Ongwen and involved about 15 commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Nabaasa Kanyogonya told the court on Monday that he acted as a liaison between the Ugandan military, civilian intelligence agencies, and the ICC. He said he did this as the director of legal services at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, a position he said he has held since May 2004, but with some interruptions.

Kanyogonya was testifying in the trial of Ongwen, who has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role … Continue Reading

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