The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Pre-Trial Chamber II ended hearings against Vincent Otti, the alleged former Vice-Chairman and Second-in-Command of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), on Friday. In response to the Prosecution’s “Third Request to Terminate Proceedings against Vincent Otti,” the Chamber reached this conclusion.
“All available evidence indicates that Otti was killed in a remote area of the Democratic Republic of Congo in October 2007,” the prosecution stated in its motion.
The Prosecution added two witness statements to the material previously presented to the Chamber, explaining that the sole eyewitness to Otti’s murder must be taken as dead as well. It said that there’s no chance that more research will turn up any more evidence of Otti’s passing.
In its decision, the Chamber found that the only reasonable conclusion is that Mr Otti is no longer alive. The Chamber recalled that the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a deceased person. The death of the suspect therefore required to terminate the proceedings against Mr. Otti, further to which all relevant documents, including any warrants of arrest, are rendered without effect.
Decision terminating the proceedings against Vincent Otti
Background: The Warrant of Arrest for Vincent Otti was issued under seal on 8 July 2005 and unsealed on 13 October 2005. He was suspected of eleven counts of crimes against humanity (murder, sexual enslavement, inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering) and twenty-one counts of war crimes (rape, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, forced enlistment of children, cruel treatment of civilians, pillaging, and murder) allegedly committed in northern Uganda after 1 July 2002. Otti’s case was joined to the case of other LRA commanders Joseph Kony and Dominic Ongwen. On 6 February 2015, Pre-Trial Chamber II severed the proceedings against Dominic Ongwen from the Kony et al. case following his surrender to the ICC custody on 16 January 2015.