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ICC strikes as Ugandan LRA commander convicted on 61 counts

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday found Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan national, guilty of 61 charges bordering war crimes.

The Hague-based court says that the 61 charges levelled against Ongwen comprised of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ongwen, 45, is accused to have committed these crimes in Northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and December 2005.

ICC insists that Trial Chamber IX, composed of Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt, Judge Péter Kovács and Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan, analysed the evidence submitted and discussed before it at trial and found, beyond any reasonable doubt that Ongwen is guilty of all the charges.

Ongwen has been found guilty of the following crimes;

  1. attacks against the civilian population as such, murder, attempted murder, torture, enslavement, outrages upon personal dignity, pillaging, destruction of property and persecution; committed in the context of the four specified attacks on the Internally Displaced Persons camps (“IDP camps”) Pajule (10 October 2003), Odek (29 April 2004), Lukodi (on or about 19 May 2004) and Abok (8 June 2004);
  2. sexual and gender based crimes, namely, forced marriage, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enslavement, forced pregnancy and outrages upon personal dignity he committed against seven women (whose names and individual stories are specified in the judgment) who were abducted and placed into his household;
  3. A number of further sexual and gender based crimes he committed against girls and women within the Sinia brigade, namely forced marriage, torture, rape, sexual slavery and enslavement; and
  4. The crime of conscripting children under the age of 15 into the Sinia brigade and using them to participate actively in hostilities.
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The ICC chamber says that these crimes were committed in the context of the armed rebellion of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) against the government of Uganda.

“The Chamber found that Dominic Ongwen is fully responsible for all these crimes. The Chamber did not find evidence that supported the claim that he suffered from any mental disease or disorder during the period relevant to the charges or that he committed these crimes under duress or under any threats,” says ICC.

The court has since imposed on Ongwen the sentence of the crimes, awaiting to receive submissions on the appropriate sentence by the Prosecutor.

The Rome Statute does not provide for a death penalty.

“The sentence may be up to 30 years of imprisonment (and under exceptional circumstances a life imprisonment) and/or a fine. Furthermore, a phase dedicated to the reparations to victims will be opened,” says ICC.

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