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ICC Defends Use of Government Evidence Against Ongwen :: Uganda Radionetwork
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ICC Defends Use of Government Evidence Against Ongwen

However, Gumpert says integrating the evidence collected by government doesnt make the court bias. He says the court only exploited the Complementarity provisions within the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

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Benjamin Gumpert, the International Criminal Court – ICC lead counsel has defended the use of evidence collected by Uganda to charge Dominic Ongwen, a former commander in the rebel Lord's Resistance Army-LRA. During the confirmation of charges hearing against Ongwen in January this year, Gumpert presented extracts of radio call conversations between Ongwen and LRA leader, Joseph Kony. 

Some of the excerpts recorded by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and Uganda People's Defense Forces implicated Ongwen for his involvement in planning, organising or executing the atrocities for, which he is charged. According to Gumpert, the Court has come under intense criticism for siding with the Uganda government, a party to the conflict by relying on the evidence it collected against LRA.

However, Gumpert says integrating the evidence collected by government doesn't make the court bias. He says the court only exploited the Complementarity provisions within the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court.

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In an exclusive interview with URN in Gulu early this week, Gumpert clarified that ICC doesn't have a police force or army of its own and can only rely on partner state structures to execute indictments and warrants of arrest against suspects.

Phakiso Mochocho, the head of ICC's Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation, says the Court has also been accused of frustrating defections of LRA fighter by confirming charges against Ongwen. Phakiso says that as earlier clarified by Fatou Bensouda, the ICC lead Prosecutor, the trial of Ongwen shouldn't prevent any fighter from surrendering.

He says the Court's major focus is now on LRA leader Joseph Kony as Vincent Otti and Okot Odhiambo, the other indicted LRA commanders are now presumed dead.

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Ongwen, the alleged former commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord's Resistance Army faces 70 charges for war crimes, sexual and gender based crimes and crimes against humanity. They were reportedly committed during attacks on Internally Displaced Person's camps in Pajule IDP (October 2003), Odek IDP (April 2004), Lukodi IDP (May 2004) and Abok IDP camps (June 2004).