International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

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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Witness Says Kony Had LRA Members Spy on Each Other

A former long-serving member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) the group’s leader, Joseph Kony, may have deployed two senior members to keep an eye on Dominic Ongwen so that he would not escape the LRA.

Ray Apire made the observation on Wednesday, adding that something similar happened to him, as it did to senior LRA commanders. Apire said this while responding to questions that Thomas Obhof, one of Ongwen’s lawyers, asked him.

Ongwen has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in attacks on camps for internally displaced people, sex crimes, and conscripting child soldiers.

On Wednesday, Obhof asked Apire about a telephone conversation with Ongwen that … Continue Reading

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Former LRA Member Says Group Used Warm Water and Herbs to Treat Bullet Wounds

A former member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) the Spartan mobile medical units the group used to take care of its sick, the wounded, and expectant mothers.

Ray Apire told the court on Tuesday that he spent the 16 years he was with the LRA working in what the group called the sick bay. Apire said there were several such units in the LRA and that all of them fell under Control Altar, the group’s high command.

Apire is the first person who worked in one of the LRA’s sick bays to testify at the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and … Continue Reading

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Q &A: Archbishop John Baptist Odama on the Trial of Dominic Ongwen

Archbishop John Baptist Odama is a long-term advocate for peace in northern Uganda. He recently discussed his thoughts regarding the trial of Dominic Ongwen before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ongwen is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in attacks on camps for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda. The attacks took place between 2003 and 2004 in the camps of Pajule, Odek, Abok, and Lukodi. His trial at the ICC opened on December 6, 2016.

Archbishop Odama is the pontifical leader of Gulu Archdiocese, in northern Uganda. Following his ordination as Archbishop in April 1999, he dedicated his efforts to advocating and working for the return of peace in northern Uganda. In … Continue Reading

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Court Hears More Testimony on Killing of LRA Deputy Leader Otti

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that LRA leader Joseph Kony ordered a unit to kill his deputy, Vincent Otti.

The testimony of Witness P-233 is the second time during the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander, that a witness has provided details about the killing of Otti, which took place at least nine years ago.

Otti was named in the original ICC arrest warrant issued in 2005 for Kony, Ongwen, and two other LRA commanders, Raska Lukwiya and Okot Odiambo. The ICC has declared Lukwiya and Odiambo dead and terminated the cases against them.

Ongwen surrendered to Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic in January 2015, who handed him over … Continue Reading

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Witness Says Ugandan Army Aimed to Break LRA Morale by Targeting Key Leaders

A Ugandan army colonel told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the army’s aim during the conflict in northern Uganda was to break the morale of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) by targeting key leaders of the rebel group.

Colonel Joseph Balikuddembe told the court on Thursday that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) did not study deeper how the LRA was organized as part of its counter-insurgency strategy.

Balikuddembe said on Thursday that he did not know some of the LRA commanders he met in 2006 were part of the LRA high command. He told the court he thought they were commanders with Dominic Ongwen, who at the time was commander of Sinia brigade.

Ongwen is on trial at the ICC for … Continue Reading

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Ugandan Army Colonel Says No One Could Convince Ongwen to Release Children in 2006

A Ugandan army colonel described to the International Criminal Court (ICC) the first time Dominic Ongwen, who is on trial at the court, came out of the bush. Ongwen, who was a commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), emerged from the bush as part of a ceasefire deal between the government and the LRA.

Colonel Joseph Balikuddembe told the court on Wednesday that Ongwen first sent an emissary with a letter written in Acholi addressed to him, asking for safe passage to an assembly point in southern Sudan, Owiny Kibul, which was part of the ceasefire deal.

Balikuddembe said this happened in 2006, possibly in November. He said at the time he was commander of the 601 brigade of the Uganda … Continue Reading

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Witness Says He Was Caned 50 Times as a “Welcome” to the LRA

A former member of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he and other abductees were each caned 50 times as a “welcome” to the rebel group.

Witness P-097 told the court on Tuesday that being caned was a regular punishment for failing to follow instructions or doing something a superior did not like. He gave the example of when he was caned 25 times for losing some cooking pans as he was crossing a river.

The witness was testifying in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in attacks on four camps for internally displaced people … Continue Reading

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