International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Witness Tells Court He Twice Survived Being Nearly Killed While in the LRA

A witness broke down and cried loudly as he began narrating to the International Criminal Court (ICC) how the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) abducted him about 14 years ago when he and his family fled their home after neighbors warned them the rebel group was in the vicinity.

Witness P-200 broke down about half an hour into his testimony on Monday. Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt ordered a short break in proceedings to allow the witness to recover and an assessment to be made on whether he could continue his testimony. Witness P-200 resumed his testimony after about 15 minutes. Monday’s hearing was also shortened to give the witness longer breaks between his testimony.

He is testifying in the ICC trial of Dominic … Continue Reading

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Former LRA Officer Insists Ongwen Participated in Lukodi Attack

A former long-serving member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insisted Dominic Ongwen participated in attacking the Lukodi camp for internally displaced people (IDP) 13 years ago.

Thomas Obhof, one of Ongwen’s lawyers, suggested on Friday that Ongwen was not at Lukodi when the attack happened in May 2004. Witness P-145 told the International Criminal Court (ICC) he was. The witness also told the court Ongwen addressed LRA fighters before they went to attack Lukodi.

Ongwen, a former LRA commander, is on trial at the ICC and has been charged with 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the attack on Lukodi. He has also been charged for his alleged role in attacks on three … Continue Reading

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A Former LRA Officer Disputes the LRA’s Goal was to Overthrow the Ugandan Government

A former long-serving member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that after he escaped the group he concluded the LRA’s goal was not to overthrow the Ugandan government. He said he also appealed on FM radio to LRA members to leave the group.

Witness P-145 told the court on Wednesday about collecting and carrying away food looted during an LRA attack on the Lukodi camp for internally displaced people (IDP). He said he did not participate in the attack nor did he witness what happened during the attack.

Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander who is on trial at the ICC, has been charged with 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his … Continue Reading

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Defense Lawyer Casts Doubt on Whether Witness Knew Ongwen

On Tuesday, a lawyer defending Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC) cast doubt on whether a former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) saw or knew Ongwen, as the former fighter had testified a day earlier.

Thomas Obhof also cast doubt on what Witness P-250 knew about the LRA brigade he had testified he belonged to while he was with the rebel group. Witness P-250 insisted that he knew Ongwen, but he conceded there were details about the brigade he belonged to that he did not know.

Ongwen is on trial facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has been charged with attacking camps for internally displaced people (IDP), committing sex crimes, and conscripting child … Continue Reading

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Witness Testifies About Attacking the Pajule IDP Camp Where His Father, Sister Lived

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) about being abducted by the LRA and later taking part in an attack on a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) where his father, sister, and other relatives lived.

Witness P-250* testified on Monday in the trial of a former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, which resumed after a 45-day break. The last hearing of 2017 in Ongwen’s trial was on November 30. The trial has been going on since December 2016, and Witness P-250 is the 54th prosecution witness to testify.

The witness told the court he took part in an October 2003 attack on the Pajule IDP camp where his father, sister, and other relatives resided. … Continue Reading

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Judge Orders Prosecution Experts to Testify on Ongwen’s Mental Health

The issue of Dominic Ongwen’s mental health while he was a commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has become a matter Trial Chamber IX will have to assess when the judges weigh the evidence presented during Ongwen’s trial.

This follows the order Single Judge of Trial Chamber IX, Bertram Schmitt, issued allowing three prosecution mental health experts to testify at the end of the prosecution case. Judge Schmitt made his November 16 decision after ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested Witnesses P-445, P-446, and P-447 be allowed to testify.

Bensouda made her October 24 request after the issue of Ongwen’s mental fitness to stand trial was addressed in December last year, and related matters arose earlier this year. She also made the … Continue Reading

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Witness Asks ICC to Help Children Born to LRA Abductees

A woman who had a child while she was an abductee of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to assist children born to LRA abductees or made orphan by conflict in northern Uganda.

Witness P-006 told the court the LRA abducted her when she was 16 or 17 years old during the October 10, 2003 attack on the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP). She said she was later made a “wife” to an LRA fighter and had a child while in captivity. Witness P-006 said since escaping the group she has found it difficult to provide for her child.

She testified on November 30 in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Survivors of LRA Attack on Abok Still Have Nightmares

A leader of the Abok camp for internally displaced people (IDP) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that some survivors of a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the camp 13 years ago still have nightmares about that attack.

Cyprian Ayoo told the court Abok was attacked around eight at night on June 8, 2004, and the attack continued for up to three hours during which time he heard three exchanges of gunfire and saw the homes of camp residents being set on fire. Ayoo said some of the residents who were abducted returned the following day after Ugandan government soldiers pursued the LRA.

“Were they [survivors of the Abok attack] fearful of another attack happening?” asked Megan Hirst, a lawyer representing … Continue Reading

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DNA Expert Says Tests Show Ongwen is the Father of 11 Children

The question of whether Dominic Ongwen fathered 12 children during his time with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was the subject of the November 27 hearing at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ate Kloosterman, a DNA expert, told the court he conducted two separate tests on samples from 12 children and Dominic Ongwen to determine the paternity of the children. He said the results showed that 11 of them are most likely Ongwen’s children. Kloosterman said the tests showed the probability of this to be 99.9 percent.

The question of paternity in the trial of Ongwen, a former LRA commander, may be relevant because Ongwen has been charged with two counts of forced pregnancy as a war crime and as a crime … Continue Reading

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Witness Gives Details of Uganda Police Intercept Operation

A witness told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the Uganda Police Force ran its own operation to eavesdrop on radio communication between various commanders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) that was independent of similar operations by other security agencies.

Patrick Lumumba Nyero told the court that he began intercepting LRA radio communication for the police in 2003 and continued to do so for three years until he was unable to hear LRA commanders communicate. He said during the three years he eavesdropped on LRA commanders he was able to hear them as far away as Sudan while he was at his post in northern Uganda.

Nyero testified about the Uganda Police Force intercept operation between November 22 and November 23 … Continue Reading

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