Maria Kamara Mabinty, the International Criminal Court –ICC Outreach Coordinator for East Africa told URN in an interview that the extension of the deadline for the appeal comes following the request made by Ongwen’s defense team being led by Krispus Ayena Odongo late last month.
The International Criminal Court Appeals Chamber has extended
the deadline for Dominic Ongwen to file the notice of appeal and the appeal
brief against the sentence of the Trial Chamber IX.
ICC sentenced the former
Sinia brigade commander under the Lord’s Resistance Army –LRA on May 6, 2021, to
25 years in jail after convicting him on 61 counts of war crimes and crimes
against humanity. The crimes were committed in Northern Uganda between July 1,
2002 and December 31, 2005.
While passing the judgement, the court gave Dominic
Ongwen’s Defense Lawyers and the Prosecution team 30 days to appeal against the
guilty verdict and sentencing. The 30 days elapsed on June 5, 2021.
Kamara Mabinty, the International Criminal Court –ICC Outreach Coordinator for
East Africa told URN in an interview that the Appeals Chamber has extended the
deadline for filing the notice of appeal and the appeal brief against the
sentencing to June 28 and August 26, 2021, respectively.
She says that extension
of the deadline for the appeal follows a request by Ongwen’s defence team led
by his lead lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo late last month. Odongo however
says that they filed the notice of appeal against Ongwen’s guilty verdict on
May 4, 2021.
According to Ayena, they are working on the appeal
on the sentencing and expect to file it around June 21, 2021. Odongo revealed
that they have prepared 90 grounds in the appeal to prove Ongwen is not guilty
of all the crimes committed in the four case locations.
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Ayena also added that they are going to challenge
the court for several technical faults during the trial for example declining
to subject Ongwen to mental examination to determine whether he could stand
trial or not.
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He says they lost the case because of among others
factors understaffing and poor financing for the defence team and that through
the entire trial they had to counter both the prosecution and the victim’s representatives,
which should not have been the case.
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Ongwen was among five top LRA commanders indicted
by the ICC for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Others are the elusive
LRA leader Joseph Kony and Vincent Otti. The judges terminated the proceedings
against Raska Lukwiya and Okot Odhiambo after confirming their death.