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2,000 LRA Victims Press Charges Against Dominic Ongwen :: Uganda Radionetwork
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2,000 LRA Victims Press Charges Against Dominic Ongwen

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A confirmation of charges hearing is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds that the accused person committed each of the crimes brought against them. If charges are confirmed, the Pre-Trial Chamber commits the case for trial before a Trial Chamber.
Dominic Ongwen, the former Commander of the Sinia Brigade

Audio 4

More than 2000 victims of the Lord\'s Resistance Army-LRA war have confirmed their participation in the confirmation of charges hearing against Dominic Ongwen, the former Commander of the Sinia Brigade.

The 2,026 victims will be represented during the pre-trial hearing by amongst other lawyers, Paulina Matsida, the Head of the Office of Public Counsel for Victims at the International Criminal Court -ICC. She will be joined by two other lawyers chosen by the victims and Jane Adong, a Counsel from Kampala.

Matsida says they met the victims during extensive field visits to better understand their stories, the extent of their victimisation and their expectations for the six days of public hearing commencing on Thursday this week at The Hague. 

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Benjamin Gumpert, a senior trial lawyer in the Office of The Prosecutor says the confirmation of charges hearing will center on two types of crimes Ongwen is alleged to have committed in Pajule, Lukodi, Odek and Abok Internally Displaced People\'s camps between July 1st, 2002 and December 2005. 

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Gumpert says they will also consider the charges of forceful abduction of young girls and boys for wives, sex slaves and child soldiers.

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A confirmation of charges hearing is held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds that the accused person committed each of the crimes brought against them. If charges are confirmed, the Pre-Trial Chamber commits the case for trial before a Trial Chamber. 

Chrispus Ayena Odongo, Dominic Ongwen\'s Defense Counsel says they are determined to knock down the charges pressed against the suspect at the pre- trial phase.  Ayena says they will rely on extensive research and studies they conducted and the presentation of prosecution to prevent Ongwen from standing trial.

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Dominic Ongwen, himself forcefully abducted by the LRA, rose through the ranks and files of the rebel outfit to the most feared commander.  In 2005, he was indicted by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity alongside LRA leader Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo, Raska Lukwiya and Vincent Otti.

The ICC says it has dropped Okot Odhiambo and Raska Lukwiya off its list following their death in battle with Uganda People\'s Defense Forces - UPDF. Dominic Ongwen was transferred to the custody of the court a year ago following his surrender in Central African Republic.