The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, Netherlands has convicted former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ongwen was the lowest ranking of the five LRA leaders for whom the ICC issued their first ever warrants in June 2005 and was the only one that the court succeeded in detaining.
He was initially charged with four counts of war crimes (murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population and pillaging) and three counts of crimes against humanity (murder, enslavement, and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering).
In reading out a detailed description of atrocities committed by the LRA which has since been labelled one of Africa’s most brutal rebel groups, an ICC judge said that Ongwen had ordered the killing and abduction of civilians including children.
Ongwen was accused of 70 counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, torture, sexual slavery and using child soldiers, between 2002 and 2004 in northern Uganda when he led a brigade of the LRA.
He was found guilty of 61 out of 70 counts.
Ongwen made his first appearance before the ICC in January 2015 although the commencement of the confirmation of charges as well as the hearing was postponed to allow the prosecution to prepare adequately for the hearing and to comply with the Chamber’s instructions.