On December 6, 2016, trial began against Dominic Ongwen, who is alleged to have committed 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Uganda as former Commander in the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is accused of the torture and murder of civilians in Northern Uganda which became progressively prevalent in the 1990s. Ongwen is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since July 1, 2002, related to attacks against the civilian population in several former IDP camps. In addition to murder and the conscription of child soldiers, he is charged with several offenses related to sexual and gender-based violence including rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage. The Prosecution alleges that “Dominic Ongwen, Joseph Kony, and the other Sinia Brigade commanders were part of a common plan to abduct women and girls in northern Uganda that were then used as forced wives and sex slaves, tortured, raped and made to serve as domestic help.” Ongwen’s case is unique in that he himself was abducted by the LRA as a child. Due to these facts, the issue of Ongwen’s mental status has been given significant attention at trial. The trial resumed on January 16, 2017, and the Prosecution is currently in the process of hearing numerous witnesses’ testimonies and presenting additional evidence against Ongwen.
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