Case: The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen
The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (“ICC“ or “Court“) has today confirmed the charges against Dominic Ongwen and ordered his trial.
The Chamber, which is composed of Presiding Judge Cuno Tarfusser (Italy), Judge Chang-ho Chung (Republic of Korea) and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (France) who adopted a separate concurring opinion, confirmed 70 charges brought against Mr Ongwen by the Prosecutor. The Chamber strongly concluded that there are substantial grounds to believe that Dominic Ongwen is directly or indirectly responsible for the acts he is accused of committing, which include but not limited to:
- War crimes: murder and attempted murder; attack against the civilian population; rape; sexual slavery; destruction of property; torture; cruel treatment; outrages upon personal dignity; pillaging; the conscription and use of children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities;
- Crimes against humanity: murder and attempted murder; torture; sexual slavery; rape; enslavement; forced marriage as an inhumane act; persecution; and other inhumane acts.
The decision confirming the charges can be appealed only with the authorisation of Pre-Trial Chamber II.
The confirmed charges against Mr Dominic Ongwen are based on crimes allegedly committed during attacks against the Pajule IDP (October 2003), Odek IDP (April 2004) Lukodi IDP (May 2004) and Abok IDP camps (June 2004). More than those attacks, Mr Ongwen is being persecuted for sexual and gender-based crimes committed directly and indirectly by him. He is also accused of recruiting and forcing children under the age of 15 to allegedly commit atrocities in northern Uganda which took place between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005.
Apart from witness statements or transcripts of interviews of a total of 123 witnesses, the Chamber based its decision on other evidence presented to it by the Prosecutor and by the Defence. These included records of intercepted LRA radio communications and oral testimonies of seven witnesses. These testimonies were given before Single Judge Cuno Tarfusser under article 56 of the Rome Statute in the presence of the Prosecutor and the Defence in September and November 2015.
Dominic Ongwen who was allegedly Commander in the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), surrendered to the ICC on 16 January 2015 and was transferred to the ICC custody on 21 January 2015, after his warrant of arrest was issued by Pre-Trial Chamber II under seal on 8 July 2005 and unsealed on 13 October 2005.
For further information on the case, click here: https://www.icc-cpi.int/EN_Menus/icc/situations%20and%20cases/situations/situation%20icc%200204/related%20cases/icc-02_04-01_15/pages/default.aspx
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