Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43
31 Former LRA Abductees Testify Against Dominic Ongwen :: Uganda Radionetwork

31 Former LRA Abductees Testify Against Dominic Ongwen

The abductees served directly under Ongwens command while some were under subordinates he directly supervised while serving commander of the Sinia brigade.
Dominic Ongwen During His Trial At the International Criminal Court ICC
31 former abductees of the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA have testified as insider witnesses against former Warlord Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court -ICC.

The abductees served directly under Ongwen's command while some were under subordinates he directly supervised while serving commander of the Sinia brigade.  

Ongwen is standing trial for 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity he is accused of committing in four camps for internally displaced persons in Lukodi, Abok, Pajule and Odek at The Hague based court. He has pleaded not guilty to all the counts he is alleged to have committed between July 1, 2002 and December 31, 2005.

The 31 insider witnesses are part of 69 prosecution witnesses drawn from other groups such as experts, crimes-based witnesses, protected witnesses and members of the Ugandan security agents. Some of the insider witnesses testified about the inner workings of the LRA while others testified about what they knew about Ongwen as his subordinates.

The office of the International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says the insider witnesses who testified ranged from long-serving LRA members to those who were with the LRA for a few months.

The court identifies another 48 prosecution witnesses as witnesses who testified using in-court protective measures to protect their identity or their privacy because of the nature of crimes they testified about. The protective measures included witnesses testifying under a pseudonym or their faces and voices being distorted in public broadcasts of their testimony.

Another 21 prosecution witnesses testified in open court as experts, members of Ugandan security agencies and different categories of members of the Lord's Resistance Army while another set of 21 prosecution witnesses testified as crimes-based witnesses.

A statement from the Prosecution office says "the Crimes-based witnesses testified about the crimes Ongwen is alleged to have had a role in, but most of them did not have any direct or indirect knowledge about Ongwen's alleged role in those crimes".

It says many of these witnesses were survivors of LRA attacks on Abok, Lukodi, Odek and Pajule IDP camps. Some of them were survivors of sex and gender-based crimes Ongwen is alleged to have had an indirect role in.

According to the statement, eight experts also testified for the prosecution as witnesses including two prosecution staff members and an expert in enhancing audio recordings. Others were one historian, an expert on DNA, two psychiatrists and a psychologist.

Nine members of Ugandan security agencies also testified with four of them coming from groups of people who intercepted LRA radio communications for the Uganda People's Defense Force, the Internal Security Organization, and the police.

"Two of the nine were high-ranking intelligence officers. Two others commanded units in the Ugandan military. One of them is a long-serving administrator who at one time was also an intelligence officer", the statement concluded.

The court spent 142 days to present the 69 witnesses before court since January 16, 2017 when the first witness appeared before the court. The last one finished the prosecution phase of the trial on April 12, 2018.

Meanwhile victims have used seven witnesses to make their case against Dominic Ongwen and defense team led by Ugandan lawyer Crispus Ayena Odongo are expected to commence their case in August this year. It is unclear how many witnesses they will rely on to defend Dominic Ongwen.