ICC Pre-Trial Chember Confirms 70 Charges against Uganda Ex-rebel Leader Dominic Ongwen

The Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed 70 charges brought by the Prosecutor against Uganda ex-rebel leader Dominic Ongwen.

The judges decided that were “substantial grounds” to believe that Ongwen was responsible for the war crimes of murder, rape, sexual slavery, torture, pillaging, and the conscription and use of children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities.

They also decided he could be tried for the crimes against humanity of murder,  torture, sexual slavery, rape, enslavement, forced marriage as an inhumane act, persecution, and other inhumane acts.

The confirmed charges concern crimes allegedly committed during attacks against the Pajule Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp (October 2003), and the Odek IDP (April 2004), Lukodi IDP (May 2004), and Abok IDP camps (June 2004) in northern Uganda.

Ongwen was the alleged commander of the LRA’s Sinia Brigade. The warrant of arrest for Ongwen was issued by Pre-Trial Chamber II under seal on July 8, 2005. It was unsealed three months later.

Ongwen was surrendered to the ICC on January 16, 2015. The confirmation of charges hearing in this case was held over a week in January 2016.

Human Rights Watch reiterated that the ICC case against Ongwen shows the ICC’s unique role as the global court of last resort.

The decision confirming the charges can be appealed only with the authorization of Pre-Trial Chamber II. The ICC Presidency will assign the case to a Trial Chamber in due course.