ICC Ruling on Ongwen Appeal Case Excites War Victims in Northern Uganda

There was excitement among survivors and victims of the Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in Northern Uganda on Thursday following a court ruling upholding the sentencing and conviction of Dominic Ongwen.

The Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Court –ICC sitting in The Hague upheld the conviction and 25-year jail term of former Commander of the LRA Dominic Ongwen. 

Bishop Emeritus, Nelson Onono Ongweng who is also a victim of the insurgency from Lukodi IDP Camp told URN that he is overwhelmed that justice has been served. 

Bishop Ongweng urged that Ongwen should feel contended by the jail term and serve it diligently.   

Wilfred Lamony, the Chairperson of the Lukodi Massacre Survivors Association in Bungatira Sub County said that they were scared that Ongwen`s sentence and jail term would be light but now they are happy that justice has been served right.

He added that it is high time the court also considers speeding up the reparation process since the victims and survivors are struggling due to the impacts of the war.  

Evelyn Amony, the Chairperson of Women Advocacy Network, a rights group for victims of the LRA war welcomed the ruling but also appealed for the speedy processes of reparations noting that they are suffering.   

However, Fadi El Abdallah, the Spokesperson/Head of, the Public Affairs Unit of the International Criminal Court told URN during a zoom meeting after the court ruling that the reparation would depend on the need and request of the issue not that it wasn’t possible to give a deadline now.   

Jimmy Ocogo, the ICC Field Outreach Officer for Uganda noted that the ruling gives a green light for reparations saying that the judges will issue an order for reparations after assessments.   

Ongwen was convicted of 61 crimes including crimes against humanity and war crimes by the Trial Chamber in February last year.   

He was consequently sentenced to 25 years imprisonment by the ICC in May last year for the crimes committed in Northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005. 

Through his lawyers, Ongwen however filed appeals seeking to overturn both the conviction and sentencing last year.     

His lawyers raised 90 grounds of appeal consisting of alleged legal, factual and procedural errors relating to the conviction, and 11 grounds of appeal, alleging legal, factual, and procedural errors relating to the sentence.   

But on Thursday while delivering a verdict on the conviction appeal, the presiding Judge of the appeals Chamber Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza rejected all the grounds raised by the accused lawyer challenging his conviction and jail term during a verdict.    

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