January 27, 2015

Charges Against LRA’s Dominic Ongwen To Be Confirmed In August

The International Criminal Court has set August 24, 2015 as the date for the confirmation of charges against the former LRA Commander Dominic Ongwen. 

Dominic Ongwen
Dominic Ongwen

The date was set by the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II, presided over by Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, upon verifying the identity of the suspect, who was transferred to The Hague based court last week

Dressed in a well pressed dark suit, white shirt and strip necktie, Ongwen was presented with three counts of crimes against humanity and four counts of war crimes allegedly committed in 2004 in Northern Uganda while he was with the LRA.

At his first chance to address the court, Ongwen, speaking in his native language, Acholi, dived into what may be the backbone of his defence; stating that he was a victim of the LRA atrocities, having been abducted at the age of 14 years.

He also told court that he was unemployed, in response to a question about his profession.

Ongwen affirmed to the court that he had been informed of all charges read against him and of all his rights.

The Judge emphasized that Ongwen, the first Ugandan to face the court, will be held innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt at trial.

The Judge listed issues determining the date for confirmation of charges as the right of adequate time to prepare defence and right to be tried without undue delay among others. There was no objection from Prosecution and defence to the said date.

The presiding Judge added that “there will be no trial in case the charges are not confirmed.”

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