HomeNewsAfricaDominic Ongwen Former LRA leader found guilty of war crimes

Dominic Ongwen Former LRA leader found guilty of war crimes

Dominic Ongwen, a former Ugandan child soldier and former leader of Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistance Army (LRA) was found guilty of war crimes by the International Criminal court. The presiding judge Bertram Schmitt delivered the verdict by saying,” His guilt has been established beyond a reasonable doubt”.

45-year-old Dominic Ongwen was charged with misconduct, rape, murder, enlisting child soldiers and sexual enslavement. He was also found guilty of 70 crimes said to have been committed in Nothern Uganda since 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005. Since its inception, LRA has been known to be a violent group and has killed more than 100,000 people in Central Africa.

According to the UN, it has abducted 60,000 children, and Domonic Ongwen has since been the first member of the group to appear before the court. The renown leader Joseph Kony’s deputy, also known as a white ant was prosecuted for his involvement in massacres led by Joseph Kony in the 2000s. The accused denied all the charges against him and his lawyers are set to appeal to the court’s decision that Dominic was a victim of LRAs brutality.

Ongwen’s trial has been a unique one in that it is the first time for a person to appear before the court as a victim and an alleged perpetrator of war crimes as he was abducted as a child on his way to school by LRA. Judge Schmitt said,” The chamber is well aware that he as suffered much. However, this case is about crimes committed by Dominic Ongwen as a responsible adult and commander of the Lords Resistance Army.”

His sentence is yet to be determined as he has been given 30 days to appeal the court’s verdict. The trial has been ongoing since December 2016 where he made his first appearance and pleaded not guilty by stating he was ”one of the people against whom the LRA committed atrocities”.Judge Schmitt said that overwhelming evidence had been gathered giving a reason for the verdict issued.

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