25 witnesses defend Ongwen against war crimes

Dominic Ongwen is the ex-commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that formerly operated in northern Uganda.

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Dominic Ongwen is the ex-commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group that formerly operated in northern Uganda. As the head of one of the four LRA brigades, Ongwen was a member of the “Control Altar” of the LRA that directs military strategy.

Kampala. Dominic Ongwen, the former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, has called on 25 witnesses to defend him against charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity he allegedly committed during the two-decade insurgency in northern Uganda.
The update was provided by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Kampala Field Outreach staff yesterday.

“So up to date, 25 witnesses have testified for the defence side and these testimonies are from different categories of people such as former abductees of the LRA, expert witnesses and witch doctors,” Ms Maria Mabinty Kamara, head of the ICC Kampala office, said at a media briefing in Kampala.
She added: “The court was also having a short judicial Easter break but it ended. To that effect, Ongwen is expected to resume his defence hearing today [yesterday] and he is expected to present his 26th defence witness.”

The prosecution side completed presenting its evidence against Ongwen in April last year. Ongwen started his defence in September the same year.
Ms Kamara told the media that the prosecution had earlier lined up 69 witnesses to make a case against Ongwen.
Ongwen has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity that occurred during the insurgency in the northern region.
Ongwen is alleged to have committed the crimes between July 2002 and December 2005. He denied the charges.

Ms Kamara said yesterday it is anticipated that Ongwen will wind up his defence submissions in October this year.
It is after the conclusion of his defence hearing that the three judges will start writing the final judgement.
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