The Worldwide Felony Courtroom will hand down its verdict on Thursday on a Ugandan baby soldier-turned-Lord’s Resistance Military commander accused of battle crimes and crimes towards humanity.
Dominic Ongwen, 45, faces 70 fees over a reign of terror within the early 2000s by the LRA, whose fugitive chief Joseph Kony waged a bloody marketing campaign to arrange a state based mostly on the Bible’s Ten Commandments.
The case is the primary on the ICC to contain an alleged perpetrator and sufferer of the identical battle crimes, with Ongwen himself having been kidnapped by the rebels as a toddler whereas on the best way to highschool.
Ongwen, nicknamed “White Ant”, can also be the primary LRA member to face justice on the tribunal in The Hague or wherever else over the bloodshed that stretched throughout 4 African nations.
He has denied the costs “within the title of God” and his defence legal professionals say he should be acquitted as a result of he was psychologically broken by being taken by the group at a younger age.
“This case is a milestone as the primary and solely LRA case to achieve a verdict wherever on this planet,” Elise Keppler, affiliate director of the Worldwide Justice Program at Human Rights Watch (HRW), informed the AFP information company.
The decision might be learn out at 09:00 GMT.
‘Ferocious and enthusiastic’
The LRA was based in 1987 by former Catholic altar boy and self-styled prophet Kony, who launched a bloody rebel in northern Uganda towards President Yoweri Museveni.
The United Nations says the LRA killed greater than 100,000 individuals and kidnapped 60,000 kids in a marketing campaign of violence that unfold to a few different African nations – Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.
Ongwen, whose nom de guerre means “born on the time of the white ant”, is accused of main massacres on the Lukodi, Pajule, Odek, and Abok refugee camps, and the conscription of kid troopers.
Prosecutors say he was a “ferocious” and “enthusiastic” senior LRA commander in control of Kony’s notorious Sinia brigade, which additionally allegedly kidnapped younger women and girls to function home staff and intercourse slaves.
On the opening of the trial, prosecutors performed grotesque movies of the scene after an LRA assault on Lukodi refugee camp, exhibiting disembowelled kids and the charred our bodies of infants in shallow graves.
Residents in Lukodi close to town of Gulu, some 350 kilometres (218 miles) north of Kampala, informed the AFP information company the horrors of the assault nonetheless lingered recent of their recollections.
“A complete of 15 of my members of the family have been killed through the assault and really many individuals have been injured,” stated farmer Muhammed Olanya, 38, including he grew to become head of his household “at a really younger age”.
“I’ve hope that Dominic Ongwen might be convicted for the crimes he dedicated towards our individuals,” Olanya stated.
Sub-county councillor David Komakech, 47, stated the ICC’s verdict “must be delivered pretty”.
“These answerable for the assault in Lukodi and northern Uganda must be delivered to account,” he stated.
‘All the time a sufferer’
Ongwen’s legal professionals argue he should himself be handled as a sufferer of the LRA, saying baby troopers have been brainwashed by ache, beatings and publicity to violence, with some made to kill their very own mother and father as a “cleaning course of”.
“As soon as a sufferer, all the time a sufferer,” his lawyer Krispus Ayena Odongo informed the court docket in 2018, including that he was successfully a “slave”.
Ongwen surrendered to US particular forces who have been searching Kony within the Central African Republic in early 2015 and was transferred to the ICC to face trial.
HRW’s Keppler stated the decision would mark “vital progress in direction of holding accountable a insurgent group that has triggered mayhem in Uganda and a number of other close by nations for years”.
“It additionally highlights the challenges to delivering accountability when a toddler sufferer grows as much as grow to be a pacesetter of such a gaggle,” she stated in an announcement.
Greater than 4,000 victims additionally took half in Ongwen’s trial, which started greater than 10 years after a warrant for his arrest was issued in 2005. Greater than 234 days of trial proceedings, greater than 130 witnesses personally testified to the court docket, the ICC stated.
Kony, who used his supposed function as a spirit medium to regulate the minds of kid troopers, stays the topic of a global manhunt regardless of being the topic of an ICC arrest warrant.