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Kony Used Dominic Ongwen as His Killing Instrument – Defense

Krispus Ayena Odongo, Dominic Ongwens lead counsel, who told the court that Ongwen became brutal after he was indoctrinated to believe that killing was the only strategy to stay or remain alive while in the LRA ranks.
Dominic Ongwen During His Trial At the International Criminal Court ICC
The Defense team representing Dominic Ongwen, the former commander of the Lord's Resistance Army-LRA, has told the International Criminal Court that, Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel outfit, used him as a killing machine.

The defense was speaking at the opening of the defense phase of the trial before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague this morning. First to speak was Krispus Ayena Odongo, Dominic Ongwen's lead counsel, who told the court that Ongwen became "brutal after he was indoctrinated to believe that killing was the only strategy to stay or remain alive while in the LRA ranks.

"… And that your honors started after he was forced to watch the killing rituals of Joseph Kony and the spiritualism which had possessed him. From the evidence available before this honorable court which we shall demonstrate, Ongwen was a darling to the spirits," he stated.

According to Ayena, Ongwen's rapid promotion to a commanding role in the LRA only happened after the Uganda People's Defense Forces-UPDF, killed or captured most of the senior commanders of the rebel group between 2002 and 2005. He said such commanders include Raska Lukwiya, Tabuley, Onen Kamdulu and Sam Kolo amongst others.

He said that from evidence provided by the government of Uganda, Dominic Ongwen was number 36 on the list of commanders of the Lord's Resistance Army - the least in the planning hierarchy of the Lord's Resistance Army. He added that Ongwen's promotion came at a time when Kony had conceived that he wanted to escape from captivity.

Throughout the opening statement, Ongwen who was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a red neck tie sat with a headset on his head and followed the proceeding from the screens of two different computers in front of him. Fatou Bensouda, the International Criminal Court Prosecutor was also in court among other prosecution lawyers.

Ayena said he agrees with the prosecution that Kony used sham promotions and mind games to incentivize his commanders and abducted children in his captivity.

 The defense played several clips of the Movie "Brilliant Genocide" to drive home their points that Ongwen is a product of a rapturous political history of Uganda in which the major policy of the National Resistance Army (NRA) was to divide the country into two - North against the South following the 1966 Buganda Crisis.

In the Movie, several high ranking former allies of President Museveni including Gen Pecos Kutesa, Gen David Tinyefuza as well as former political Commissar of the National Resistance Army (NRA) - Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye - the former Forum for Democratic Change leader are quoted speaking about the military tactics and various policies the NRA used to capture power and maintain its grip on power.

 

Other sources in the movie are scholars, Luo vernacular speaking victims of the conflict and Bishop McBaker Ochola II, the retired Bishop of Kitgum diocese as well as politicians such as Democratic Party General Norbert Mao.