International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Says Survivors of LRA Attack on Abok 13 Years Ago Still Unhappy

A leader of the Abok camp for internally displaced people (IDP) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that survivors of a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the camp 13 years ago are not happy because they do not know who killed their relatives and friends.

Douglas Obwor told the court this was important in the Lango culture of the former residents of Abok IDP camp. Obwor also described Abok as being vulnerable to attack because the Ugandan army failed to act on reports of LRA fighters near it, and the commander responsible for protecting the camp fled in the hours before the June 2004 LRA attack.

Obwor was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, who has … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies to Being Made a “Wife” in the LRA When She was 13

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that Dominic Ongwen, who is on trial at the court, made her a “wife” of a commander when she was about 13 years old, and she feared she would be killed if she refused.

Witness P-351 told the court on November 14 Ongwen made her a “wife” about a year after the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) abducted her from her village in December 2002.

The witness did not state she was 13 years old at the time, but when Ongwen’s lead lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo, questioned Witness P-351 it emerged she was 12 years old when she was abducted. The commander she was given to was not named in open court in order to … Continue Reading

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Expert Explains to Court Steps He Took to Enhance, but not Change, Recordings of LRA Communications

An expert in enhancing audio recordings explained to the International Criminal Court (ICC) the steps he took to make speech more audible in recordings that Ugandan security agencies made of intercepts of communications between various commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Alan Robert French told the court the recordings, made on cassette tapes, were of poor quality and were made with a tape recorder placed near the device used to intercept LRA radio communications. French said he focused on making the speech more audible without distorting it as much as possible.

He said some of the cassette tapes the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) gave him were clearly copies and not the original recordings. French said he did not analyze the … Continue Reading

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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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