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ICC Extends Deadline for Dominic Ongwen’s Appeal on Sentence

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.
Dominic Ongwen Before The International Criminal Court ICC

Audio 3

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.

Maria 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.