Survivors of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in Lira District have appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold part of the trials of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen at Barlonyo site where the rebels reportedly massacred 300 people in 2004.
The residents made the appeal during ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s visit to Barlonyo on Sunday.
Ongwen becomes the first person to appear at the ICC among the top five LRA commanders who were indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“We want part of the trial to take place in Barlonyo so that the survivors can follow the proceedings at the site where the LRA committed atrocities,” said Ms Silvia Okweny, who lost two children in the massacre.
She added that they want to get first-hand information not to watch from televisions which many of them do not even have.
Ms Lillian Achieng, who lost a brother and two relatives, said Ongwen’s open trial will be a lesson to others who have plans to wage war against the government in the future.
“Ongwen should see the mess the LRA orchestrated in Barlonyo,” Ms Ochieng said.
Ms Bensouda noted that their plea will be discussed at the court. She said the court registrar is responsible for recommending to the judges the possibilities.
“We will see whether we need to do the confirmation of charges or opening of the trial in Uganda, preferably in Gulu District not in Kampala,” Ms Bensouda said.
Mr Dominic Ongwen first appeared at the ICC’s Pretrial Chambers before Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova on January 26, but his case was adjourned until January next year.Ms Bensouda has been visiting Acholi, Lango and Teso sub regions where the LRA committed atrocities during the two-decade insurgency in northern Uganda.