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Ongwen's Legal Team to Present Defense in August :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Ongwen's Legal Team to Present Defense in August

Ongwens legal team is comprised of 11 lawyers led by Charles Krispus Ayena Odongo. The others are Prudence Achirokop, Phillip Adonga, Roy Emmanuel Elao and Thomas Obo. Others who are both consultants and case managers are Tarsis Balarana Rwanda, Michael Browse Canada, Lyon Beck and Chief Tracker Charles USA and Abigail from Cameroon.
Sant-Anna Dihorou and ICC Outreach field coordinator Maria Kamara

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The legal team of Dominic Ongwen, the former commander of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army-LRA will start presenting its defense before the International Criminal Court starting in August this year. Ongwen faces 70 counts of sexual and gender based violence, war crimes and crimes against humanity in The Hague based court in Netherlands. 

He was formally charged in February 2017. Dahirou Sant-Anna, the ICC international Cooperation Adviser, says that the prosecution completed its submissions in mid-April this year and the legal representation for the victims also called witnesses.

“Now the defense for Dominic Ongwen will start presenting its case in August,” he told a news conference in Kampala on Tuesday. He says the defense has up to the end of this May to present to the chamber and the prosecution the list of witness they are to rely on.

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It is not yet clear how many witnesses Ongwen's defense team intends to present. Prosecution presented 116 witnesses, seven of whom were Ongwen's wives, 10 Uganda Peoples Defense Forces-UPDF, former rebels and LRA captives among others.

According to Dahirou Sant-Anna, the judges will also determine the reliability and establish the value of the statements of 40 other witnesses while assessing all the evidence on the case. Ongwen's legal team is comprised of 11 lawyers led by Charles Krispus Ayena Odongo. 

The others are Prudence Achirokop, Phillip Adonga, Roy Emmanuel Elao and Thomas Obo. Others who are both consultants and case managers are Tarsis Balarana (Rwanda), Michael Browse (Canada), Lyon Beck and Chief Tracker Charles (USA) and Abigail from Cameroon.

A panel of three judges led by Justice Bertram Schmitt, a German jurist is handling the trial. The others are Judge Peter Kovacs from Hungary and Judge Raul C. Pangalangan from the Philippines.

Ongwen is accused of leading attacks on Pajule Internally Displaced Peoples' (IDP) camp in October 2003, Odek IDP in April 2004, Lukodi IDP in May 2004 and in Abok in June 2004. He surrendered to the army in the Central African Republic (CAR) and was transferred to the custody of the ICC in January 2015, where he is standing trial.

The LRA killed more than 100,000 people, abducted more than 60,000 others and displaced more than 1.8 million people from their homes, mainly in Acholi and Lango sub-regions of northern Uganda.

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