We have made a strong case against Ongwen - prosecutor

Friday March 13 2020
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Accused. Dominic Ongwen appears before the International Criminal Court in 2016. FILE PHOTO

The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, Ms Fatou Bensouda, has said they have presented strong evidence that will find Dominic Ongwen guilty of different war crimes.
Ms Bensouda has brought 70 charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and sexual and gender-based crimes against the former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

The accused allegedly committed the grave crimes in Pajule, Abok, Lukodi and Odek internally displaced people’s camps in northern Uganda between July 1, 2002 and December 31, 2005.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ms Bensouda said she is comfortable with the evidence her team gathered and presented in court against Ongwen. “We presented a good case to the judges. And the rest, as I said, is in the hands of the judges,” she said.
“They will make a decision but I am very hopeful that it will be a positive one for the Office of the Prosecutor and also for justice for the affected communities,” Ms Bensouda added.

The prosecution, who presented evidence over five years, closed their submissions on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the defence side also made their final submission.
Ms Bensouda acknowledged that while she was confronted with many challenges during the presentation of evidence, her office dealt with it well.
“So far where we are, I am pleased that it has gone the way it has. I am confident of my evidence and I am looking forward to the decision by the judges because it is in their hands now,” she added.
However, the defence team accused the prosecution side of using evidence generated from “shoddy investigations” to prosecute Ongwen.
Mr Krispus Ayena Odongo, the lead lawyer, said the witnesses presented by Ms Bensouda are not credible.

“Instead of combing the villages of the affected areas of northern Uganda for credible witnesses, the way we did, they basically went and sat in the comfort of their own hotels in Gulu and collected only evidence from government security agencies,” he told court yesterday.
After the closing statements, judges will now go to a closed door session to evaluate all the evidence, materials and witnesses used during the trial.
Later, they will make an independent decision during sentencing.
The judgment is expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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