20 September 2018

Uganda: Turn Ongwen Into Witness, Lawyer Tells ICC

Photo: The Independent
LRA’s Dominic Ongwen on trial at ICC (file photo).

The Hague. The former commander of the Sinia Brigade with the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), Dominic Ongwen, should be a prosecution witness and not an accused, his defence lawyer has told the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

Mr Charles Achaleke Taku, also known as Chief, told the ICC on Tuesday evening that the defence witnesses that they intend to call starting October 1, will tell court of how the two-decade atrocities committed in northern Uganda were perpetuated by Joseph Kony and not Ongwen.

Ongwen faces 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity before the ICC, which he denies.

He is also accused of unleashing attacks on four camps for people displaced by conflict in Pajule, Abok, Lukodi and Odek in Gulu and Oyam districts of northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005.

"The victims that the defence will call to testify, like those who have testified before, will identify Joseph Kony and the LRA, not Dominic Ongwen as the orchestrated of their victimhood," Mr Taku told court.

"Dominic Ongwen should be sitting on the bench of potential witnesses awaiting the potential prosecution of Joseph Kony and senior UPDF perpetrators - if that will ever happen and not as an accused for 70 charges," he added.

The defence side told court that they will adduce evidence to show that Kony did not share any authority with Ongwen and therefore, he did not involve him in his operations to kill civilians as prosecution suggests.

Ongwen's defence team also told court that they will present evidence to show that despite the risks to his life, their client while nursing a fatal combat injury, established a contact with President Museveni's young brother, Gen Salim Saleh, on how to escape from rebellion but Kony found out and caused his arrest and eventual imprisonment to await for his fate.

This they say was a good gesture by Ongwen to disassociate himself from the Kony rebellion against government but in vain.

Presiding judge Bertram Schmitt said the first defence witness is expected to take to the dock and defend Ongwen starting October 1.

Uganda

Mother-to-Child HIV Infections Drop By 86%

Mother-to-child HIV infections in Uganda have fallen to an all-time low of 4,000 in 2017 up from 25,000 in 2011, First… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.