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ICC Hears Further Evidence Of LRA Spiritualism As Ongwen Trial Resumes :: Uganda Radionetwork
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ICC Hears Further Evidence Of LRA Spiritualism As Ongwen Trial Resumes

Emori explained to court how the LRA military council was made of spirits, which directed Kony on the affairs of the rebel group including when or how to abduct civilians, set land mines, attack enemy forces or hide from the enemies without striking.
Dominic Ongwen During His Trial At the International Criminal Court ICC
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has heard further evidence about the spiritual powers Joseph Kony, the World's most wanted warlord used to rule the rebel Lord's Resistance Army-LRA. The evidence came as Nathan Aron Emori, the sixth defense witness of Dominic Ongwen, the first combat commander of the LRA standing trial in the ICC testified before court.  

Emori told Court that he served as a guest commander of LRA before defecting to the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) in 2000. He said Joseph Kony had prophetic powers, which he used to predict future events with precise timings well before they had actually happened. 

"For instance, he knew when the UPDF would attack. He used to tell me that Nathan; I am seeing the UPDF Crossing the border of Uganda coming to attack us. And those who followed his instructions always survived the attacks" He narrated adding that some of the spirits were "Who are You?", "Silindi" and "Juma Oris".

 

He said Juma Oris was named after the Minister of Information in Idi Amin's government but couldn't explain the reasons for naming the spirit Juma Oris. Krispus Ayena Odongo, the Ongwen's Lead Defense lawyer has already indicated that they intend to supply evidence on five key grounds to prove their client's innocence. The first he named is that Ongwen has been charged for Crimes, which the LRA organization committed.

The second he said is that Ongwen was not at the scenes of crimes of the alleged attacks on camps for internally displaced persons.  The third he said is the defense of mental incapability to form intent to commit crimes having grown up in a hostile environment as an abducted child. The others are the defense of duress and spiritualism of the Lord's Resistance Army.

Thomas Obhof, a member of Ongwen's Defense team guided Emori through his pre-recorded testimony alongside others he shared off head during the two days' proceeding before The Hague Based Court. 

He guided him to tell court how Joseph Kony had advance knowledge of those planning to escape from the various brigades and those talking to the government of South Sudan. Joseph Kony used to announce his predictions during prayers, which were held once a day or ten times a day as the spirits had instructed. 

According to Emori, Kony would tell those planning to escape from various brigades during prayer times.  Emori explained to court how the LRA military council was made of spirits, which directed Kony on the affairs of the rebel group including when or how to abduct civilians, set land mines, attack enemy forces or hide from the enemies without striking.

 

He also spoke elaborately about some of the cardinal rules, which governed LRA's military activities including strict observance of hygiene and sanitation. He said the spirits revered water so much so that every soldier had to carry a water container around their neck everywhere they went. 

"The high regard and the reverence, which Joseph Kony and the spirits had for water explains why he only frequented Uganda during the dry seasons. And it was during the dry seasons that the UPDF deployed or attacked very heavily," he told court. 

Other rules he spoke about included strict observance of prayer time. "It was prohibited to take a girl for a wife before she has been anointed and approved by the elders. Every soldier was expected to carry a catholic rosary and each and every one had it. The rosaries were donated by Catholic Churches to the LRA," he explained.

According to Emori, Kony never suffered any injuries during the numerous battles he participated in except for bomb shrapnel, which struck him once. He said Kony got dizzy whenever he was under the control of the spirits and received instructions from the spirits during his sleep. 

"He would excuse himself in the middle of meetings to go and sleep when the spirits wanted to communicate with him. And he would come back with instructions" Emori who said he got attached to the LRA by the Uganda Patriotic Army (UPA) told the ICC on Tuesday morning.

Emori concluded his testimonies by telling court the elaborate relationship the LRA had with the Khartoum government. He said the Sudan government supplied the LRA with food and weapons for a long time. 

Benjamin Gumpert, the Prosecution Trial Lawyer cross examined Emori on his role after the abduction of the Aboke Girls. Emori said he sought the help of the International Community to pressure the LRA to release the abducted girls in vain. 

Earlier, Rwot Yusuf Adek, the Pageya Clan Chief testified on events, which led to the botched Juba Peace talks between government and LRA. He also told court how he reprimanded Joseph Kony for killing his Deputy Vincent Otti saying "he told him that it should be the last extra judicial killing attributed to him".

Ogwen is facing 70 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual and gender based crimes. The charges relate to atrocities committed in Pajule, Odek, Abok and Lukodi camps for internally displaced persons between July 2002 and December 2005. 

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