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Sunday, September 27, 2020

ICC’s Bensouda reaffirms commitment against impunity

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Dominic Ongwen, an aide to one of the world’s most wanted rebel leaders, Joseph Kony, of the Lord’s Resistance Army, faces four counts of war crimes and three counts of crimes against humanity. He’s expected to appear before the ICC on Monday and will be the first LRA fighter to face international justice.

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Speaking of the development, Mr Fatou Bom Bensouda said: “Dominic Ongwen’s transfer brings us one step closer to ending the LRA’s reign of terror in the African Great Lakes region.  For more than a quarter of a century, the LRA under Joseph Kony and his high command, that includes Ongwen, have terrorised the people of Northern Uganda and neighbouring countries.”

Bensouda alleged that the LRA rebels had committed ‘unimaginable crimes against humanity and war crimes’ and Mr Ongwen, who was recruited when he was a child, took part in those crimes. 

She added: “The LRA has reportedly killed tens of thousands and displaced millions of people; terrorised civilians, abducted children and forced them to kill and serve as sex slaves. They have hacked off limbs and horribly disfigured men, women and children. My investigation demonstrates that Dominic Ongwen served as a high ranking commander within the LRA and that he is amongst those who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC. His transfer to the Court’s custody sends a firm and unequivocal message that no matter how long it will take, the Office of the Prosecutor will not stop until the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community are prosecuted and face justice for their heinous crimes.

“I urge all others that still remain within LRA ranks to abandon violence; stop committing crimes, and follow the bold steps of others before you. I also encourage all states to renew and refocus efforts to secure the arrest of Joseph Kony as well as all other ICC fugitives. The victims of their crimes have waited far too long and deserve to see justice done.”

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