Second delegation of acholi leaders to meet ongwen at icc

Second delegation of acholi leaders to meet ongwen at icc

By Denis Otim

The second delegation of Fifteen Acholi leaders are expected to travel to the International Criminal Court, ICC, to follow the trial proceedings of former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen.

The trip, which is being planned by the Office of the Prosecutor, OTP, will cater for ten religious leaders, five cultural leaders and selected journalists to cover and report about the proceedings from the ICC. The date of the trip is yet to be announced.

In December 2016, a section of Acholi religious and cultural leaders led by the Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II, met Ongwen from detention cell at The Hague, Netherlands.

Martin Denis Okwi, ICC’S outreach assistant for Uganda told journalists in Gulu on Wednesday, that the arrangement under the ICC’s Access to Justice Project will allow the leaders to interact with Ongwen, follow the trial proceeding and comprehend how the court works.

“We are arriving on how to determine who will be selected,” Okwi said.

Ongwen, whose trial commenced in January 2017 is facing 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity he allegedly committed in Lukodi, Abok, Pajule and Odek displacements camps in Northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005.

Okwir revealed that 62 prosecution witnesses have already testified against Ongwen.

He says presentation of witnesses is expected to be complete by end of March this year, thereafter, the representatives of the victims will also make their submissions followed by Ongwen’s defense team.

The final verdict is expected by the end of 2019.

Ongwen’s trial is one of the most historic in the ICC’s 15 years history and raises difficult questions of responsibility and blame.

He is the first former child soldier to face trial at the ICC, and the first defendant to be both alleged perpetrator and victim of the same crimes.

Ongwen was indicted by the ICC in 2005 along with four other LRA commanders Joseph Kony (still alive), Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo and Vincent Otti all presumed dead.