On Thursday, the International Criminal Court rejected an appeal by Ugandan child soldier-turned-God’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen, convicting him and handing him a 25-year sentence for war crimes.
Dominique Ongwen was kidnapped at the age of nine by a rebel group led by fugitive Joseph Kony and was convicted last year of murder, rape and sexual enslavement in northern Uganda in the early 2000s.
Judge Luz del Carmen Ibanez Carranza said of his conviction that “the Court of Appeal unanimously dismisses all grounds of appeal.” One of his grounds of appeal against his judgment was dismissed by majority vote and the rest were unanimously dismissed.
Dressed in a dark suit and tie, Ongwen waved briefly into the public gallery, but was otherwise calm, listening to the verdict through headphones.
An appeals court judge said Ongwen was abducted as a “vulnerable child”, but that did not alleviate his guilt. said he played a key role in the LRA atrocities.
The LRA was founded 30 years ago by ex-Catholic altar boy and self-proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, who led a bloody rebellion against President Yoweri Museveni in northern Uganda.
Earlier this year, the defense argued that Ongwen, who is believed to be in his mid-40s but whose date of birth is unknown, was traumatized by his own experiences as a youth in the LRA.
“Dominic Ongwen is still a child,” Ongwen’s attorney, Crispus Iena Odongo, told court in February, adding that Ongwen now claims he is “possessed” by Connie’s spirit. But he added that he believed.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said last month that he would ask a judge to confirm the charges against Kony despite his absence because the rebel leader is still on the run.
– “Scapegoat” –
Ongwen surrendered to US special forces hunting Kony in the Central African Republic in early 2015 and was transferred to the ICC to stand trial.
The LRA’s attempt to establish a nation based on the Biblical Ten Commandments has killed more than 100,000 people, kidnapped 60,000 children, and has spread to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.
Ongwen, nicknamed “The Termite,” was convicted of 61 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This included charges of turning young abductees into child soldiers.
Prosecutors portrayed Ongwen as leading the LRA’s reign of terror, personally ordering the massacres of more than 130 civilians in Lukodi, Pajle, Odek and Abok refugee camps between 2002 and 2005.
The judge said Ongwen suffered from mental illness despite his own history of being kidnapped on his way to school by the LRA, described by experts as one of Africa’s “most brutal militias”. I ruled no.
Ongwen’s attorneys have appealed 90 different grounds and 11 judgments, alleging that the “law, facts and procedures” were erroneous.
“This trial was a proxy prosecution, an LRA prosecution, and used child soldiers (Ongwen) as scapegoats,” Krispus Ayena Odongo said in court documents.
He added that Connie should be on the dock in Ongwen’s place because he was the one who made the decision to distribute women and children as sex slaves.
Connie has not yet been arrested. He escaped tentacles in different states,” added Odongo.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/icc-upholds-conviction-of-ugandan-former-child-soldier-450807/ ICC upholds conviction of former Uganda child soldier