International Criminal Court registrar expected in Uganda for a six-days visit

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The Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Herman Von Hebel is expected in Uganda for a six days’ visit.

Hebel is expected to jet in the county on December 3rd to address the media and victims of the LRA rebellion about the ICC judicial process, support services to victims and the public.

The visit comes ahead of the trial of Dominic Ongwen, the former commander of the Sinia Brigade Commander in the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Ongwen’s trial will commence with the presentation of opening statements on December 6th for three days followed by recess until January 16th, 2017 when full hearing will commence.

Maria Mabinty Kamara, the ICC Field Outreach Coordinator for Uganda and Kenya, says Hebel’s visit is expected to demonstrate the court’s solidarity with the war victims when Ongwen’s trial starts at The Hague based court.

The Registry is a neutral organ of the court that provides service to all other organs so that ICC can function and conduct fair, credible and effective court proceedings as the court’s mandate to end impunity for mass atrocities.

The former rebel commander faces up to 70 charges of war crimes allegedly committed under his watch during the raid on IDP camps of Pajule in October 2003, Odek in April 2004, Lukodi on May 19, 2004, and Abok June 2004.

He also faces charges of murder, rape, and torture, destruction of property, pillaging and the enlistment of teenagers under the age of 15 into armed conflicts in Northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005.

Over 4000 victims in Northern Uganda have been granted status by the court to participate in the trail of Ongwen who will be represented by 11 lawyers led by Charles Krispus Ayena Odongo.

The ICC Outreach department will open viewing sites at seven locations to allow those interested in following the proceedings to do so. The 41 year old Ongwen faces up to 30 year in jail or a life sentence once found guilty.