International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Defense Lawyer and Witness Disagree on How Long Witness Was With the LRA

A defense lawyer took a prosecution witness to task for the discrepancy between his testimony about when he escaped the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the date of an amnesty certificate the Ugandan government issued to him.

In his questioning on Tuesday, Thomas Obhof said that elements of Witness P-252’s earlier testimony were consistent with the date on his amnesty certificate, rather than when the witness said he left the LRA. That testimony included the witness seeing a son of Dominic Ongwen, and testifying that he ate mangoes the day he escaped from the LRA.

Ongwen, a former LRA commander, is on trial for his alleged role in attacks that took place between 2003 and 2004 on four camps for people displaced … Continue Reading

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Witness Describes Insults in Odek After Returning From the LRA

A former fighter of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) said he escaped the group because life with the LRA was too difficult, even though he knew he risked being killed if he was caught.

Witness P-252 told the International Criminal Court on Monday that the one year and nine months he spent with the LRA was wasted. The witness testified on Friday that the LRA abducted him during an April 2004 attack on the Odek camp for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda.

The testimony is part of the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander who has been charged for his alleged role in attacks on the Odek, Abok, Lukodi, and Pajule IDP camps in northern Uganda. These … Continue Reading

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Witness Describes Himself as Traumatized by His Actions After LRA Abduction

A former member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he and other abductees from the Odek camp for internally displaced people were each caned up to 100 times because another abductee escaped.

Witness P-252 told the court on Friday they were lucky because the LRA fighters who captured them during an attack on Odek in 2004 told them that if they caught the abductee who had escaped they would all be killed. The witness said the LRA fighters searched for the other abductee but did not find him.

The witness was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, who has been charged for his alleged role in the attack on Odek and … Continue Reading

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Witness Tells Court She Was Abducted Twice by LRA Group that Ongwen Led

A prosecution witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) she was abducted twice in the space of about four years by a group of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters led by Dominic Ongwen, something his lead lawyer cast doubt on.

Witness P-269 told the court on Tuesday her abductions included being taken away from her children during an April 2004 LRA attack on the Odek camp for internally displaced people (IDP). On Wednesday, Ongwen’s lead lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo, questioned whether Ongwen could have led the attack on Odek because he had an alibi for that attack. Odongo also doubted whether during the first abduction of Witness P-269 she was given as a wife to one Ongwen’s troops. The lawyer said … Continue Reading

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Defense Challenges Witness About His Age When He Was Abducted from Abok

A prosecution witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he recognized Dominic Ongwen, who he saw in court, as one of the people who was addressed in respectful terms during his five-month abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Witness P-280 told the court on Monday he did not know Ongwen, who is on trial at the ICC, by name when he was abducted by the LRA because he heard him being referred to only as lapwony, the Acholi word for teacher. The witness said he first learned Ongwen’s name when he saw him on television in Uganda sometime between November 2015 and January 2016.

The issue of Ongwen’s identification led to the first re-examination of a witness by the prosecution since … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Militia Guarding Abok Camp Did Not Confront LRA During Attack

A survivor of an attack on the Abok camp for internally displaced people (IDP) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that militia guarding the camp did not confront the fighters of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as they killed residents, looted, and burned down their homes.

Witness P-280 told the court on Friday it is only when LRA fighters shot in the direction of the barracks that the militia engaged in a gunfight with the LRA. The witness was testifying about an attack on the Abok camp in June 2004.

Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander, is on trial for his alleged role in the Abok attack. He is facing 12 counts for that attack. He has also been charged with attacks … Continue Reading

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Ongwen’s Lawyer Confronts Acholi Chief with Allegations He Was an LRA Collaborator

Dominic Ongwen’s lead lawyer confronted an Acholi chief with allegations that he was a collaborator of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), allegations that were made against him even as he was involved in peace negotiations between the Ugandan government and the rebel group.

Krispus Ayena Odongo on Thursday presented Rwot Oywak of Koyo Lalogi with documents the prosecution disclosed to the defense in which an unnamed person, Ugandan military intelligence, and the paramount chief of the Acholi were reported to express or expressed suspicions that Rwot Oywak worked with the LRA.

Rwot Oywak denied being a collaborator with the LRA and insisted any contact he had with the LRA was in the context of his involvement in peace negotiations between the Ugandan … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Ongwen Threatened Acholi Chiefs Twice During Peace Talks

An Acholi chief told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Dominic Ongwen was among the people who beat him for letting a 60-kilogram sack of rice drop, the rice being part of the foodstuffs looted when the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacked the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP).

Rwot Oywak of Koyo Lalogi also told the court on Wednesday how Ugandan government soldiers and LRA fighters on two separate occasions shot at him and other traditional leaders as they tried to negotiate peace between the two sides. He said he was injured in the leg in one of the shooting incidents and in the other one, he was injured in the arm.

The chief of Koyo Lalogi was testifying in … Continue Reading

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Defense Lawyer Questions Survivor’s Recollection of Pajule Attack

A defense lawyer challenged the account given by a survivor of a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP).

On Tuesday, Thomas Obhof questioned some of the details Witness P-249 remembered under the stress of abduction. Obhof also questioned how the witness remembered what happened during the attack and after when, by his own admission, he was drunk the night before the attack.

Obhof was questioning the witness on behalf of his client, Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen is on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in the attack on Pajule on October 10, 2003. He has also been charged for his alleged responsibility in attacks on three … Continue Reading

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Witness Describes How He Crawled with Festering Wounds for 9 Days After Escaping the LRA

A survivor of a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP) described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) how he was beaten, left for dead, and then crawled with festering wounds for nine days before he got help.

Witness P-249 told the court on Monday that LRA fighters beat him when he refused to continue walking because he had bruises on his shoulders, a wound on one of his feet that made him limp, and he had not eaten a regular meal for the four or so days since being abducted from Pajule.

The witness was testifying in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander, who has been charged with 70 counts of … Continue Reading

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