Ex-LRA commander appears before ICC

Former Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen on Jan. 26 made his first appearance  before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The pre-trial hearing was brief as Ongwen simply had to confirm his identity and that he clearly understood the charges against him. During his hearing, Ongwen thanked God and referred to himself as a former soldier saying that he "was abducted in 1988 and…taken to the bush when [he] was 14 years old." He spoke in Acholi, his native language. Ongwen faces three counts of crimes against humanity: murder, enslavement, and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering; and four counts of war crimes: murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, and pillaging. A pre-trial confirmation of charges hearing has been scheduled for August. This hearing will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish substantial grounds to believe that Ongwen committed each of the crimes with which he is charged. The ICC took legal custody of Ongwen in Central African Republic's capital Bangui earlier this month.

From Jurist, Jan. 26. Used with permission.

  1. Will Joseph Kony make a come-back?

    A force of 1,500 Ugandan troops back by some 100 US military advisors is being withdrawn fmor the Central African Republic, where they were dispatched in 2011 to hunt down warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army. The LRA is said to have dwindled from some 2,000 fighters to fewer than 100 and is no longer considered a threat. But Kony remains at large, and there are fears that the LRA could rebuild as the troops withdraw. CAR's own military is weak, divided and overstretched by the country's civil war. (Daily Beast, May 26; BBC News, May 23)