ICC convicts former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen of war crimes
Last Updated on: 4th February 2021, 04:25 pm
This case is about crimes committed by Dominic Ongwen as a fully responsible adult and as a commander of the LRA in his mid-to-late 20s.
Gulu—4, February 2021: The International Criminal Court (ICC) based in the Netherlands on Thursday found the former Lord Resistance Army (LRA) commander guilty of war crimes.
Dominic Ongwen, 45, was facing 70 criminal charges he committed while serving as one of the senior rebel commanders under Joseph Kony. Of the 70 charges, he was found guilty of 61.
“There exists no ground, excluding Dominic Ongwen’s criminal responsibility. His guilt has been established beyond any reasonable doubt,” presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said while delivering his verdict.
He added: “This case is about crimes committed by Dominic Ongwen as a fully responsible adult and as a commander of the LRA in his mid-to-late 20s.”
His defence lawyers led by Krispus Charles Ayena Odongo had argued before the court that his client was abducted as a nine-year-old boy and persuaded to join LRA. His lawyers had told court Ongwen was a victim of circumstance. The judges denied.
The court ruled that evidence produced by the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the 45-year-old former LRA commander committed the atrocities out of his own will.
The ICC also threw out Ongwen’s claims that he was not mentally stable.
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“The chamber did not find evidence for the claim by the defence that he suffered from any mental disease or that he committed the crimes under duress.”
The court is now expected to pronounce itself on the punishment to be given to Ongwen having been convicted.