The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] on Wednesday confirmed [press release] multiple charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the case of Commander Dominic Ongwen [ICC materials] of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The hearing took place to confirm more than 70 charges listed in the warrant of arrest [text] that included mutilations, assault, murder, destruction of villages, enslavement and the enlistment of child soldiers. The court relied on witness testimony from more than 100 individuals as well as information retrieved from the LRA radio correspondence to hold that there was enough evidence to confirm the charges and begin proceedings. The confirmation of the charges will allow the ICC to begin prosecuting Ongwen for the crimes allegedly committed under his watch.
The ICC opened [JURIST report] the confirmation of charges hearing against Ongwen in January. Ongwen made his first appearance before the ICC last January amid opposition from the Ugandan government, which wished to try him in the country after his surrender [JURIST reports] earlier that month. The country’s attorney general assured the ICC in February that Uganda would cooperate [JURIST report] with his trial. The organization Invisible Children [advocacy website] opposes the actions of the LRA and has been instrumental in bringing to the forefront the efforts to capture accused leader Joseph Kony. In May 2012 a Major General of the LRA was captured [JURIST report] by force after having carried out an ambush in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The US government also aided in the protection of Ugandan citizens by introducing legislation [JURIST report] in early 2012 that would put in safe-guards in Uganda to prevent more attacks from Kony and the LRA.