Uganda's LRA commander to be tried by ICC

Army spokesman says Dominic Ongwen, captured in Central African Republic, to face trial at Hague court over war crimes.

    Uganda's LRA commander to be tried by ICC
    LRA chief Joseph Kony, left, remains at large and is believed to be constantly on the move across Central Africa [AP]

    A Lord's Resistance Army rebel commander who surrendered to US troops last week will be taken to The Hague for trial, Uganda's military has said.

    Dominic Ongwen is now in US custody in Obo, a town in eastern Central African Republic, the country where he surrendered on January 6, said Uganda's army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda.

    "It has been finally decided that Dominic Ongwen will be tried at The Hague. Victims will get justice as much as Ongwen," Ankunda told the Reuters news agency.

    "Arrangements for his transfer are being made and it will be CAR that will transfer him," he said.

    The capture of Ongwen, 34, marks a major success in the Africa-US military campaign to crush the Lord's Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony, which according to the United Nations has killed more than a 100,000 people and kidnapped mor than 60,000 children.

    The United Nations, African Union, Uganda, a critic of the ICC, and United States consulted on the decision, Nkunda said, the Associated Press news agency reported.

    US officials say the US is trying to orchestrate a transfer of Ongwen to the court via the Central African Republic or Ugandan authorities because Washington is not a signatory to the court's Rome Statute, the charter that led to the court's formation.

    The Central African Republic, one of the nations where the Lord's Resistance Army has been active in recent years, is a signatory.

    Trial concerns 

    Although Uganda wanted to try Ongwen itself, the US has concerns about how he would be treated there and whether high standards of detention and prosecution would be upheld, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly on the ongoing diplomacy.

    Asuman Kiyingi, Uganda's state minister for Regional Co-operation, had said on Monday that Uganda wanted to try him.

    The LRA launched an armed rebellion in Uganda in the 1980s and committed widespread atrocities, raping and maiming civilians who were reluctant to join its campaign.

    Ongwen, Kony and three others who have reportedly since died were charged by the ICC. The ICC warrant of arrest for Ongwen lists seven counts of alleged individual criminal responsibility, including crimes against humanity, enslavement, murder and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury.

    Kony became internationally well-known in 2012 when a US-based advocacy group produced a widely viewed video. Despite an intensified hunt, Kony is believed to be constantly on the move across Central Africa.


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