LRA

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Ex-LRA commander Dominic Ongwen surrounded by court guards and his defence lawyer at the ICC (Flickr/ICC-CPI)
28 January 2015 by Tjitske Lingsma, The Hague (The Netherlands)

Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), made his first appearance before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday for a pretrial hearing. What now? IJT asked two experts what they expected of this first ICC case against a former child soldier-turned-perpetrator.

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People watching the opening of Dominic Ongwen's trial in Lukodi, the site of the largest single massacre by the LRA which features in the charges against Ongwen (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
19 January 2017 by Stephanie van den Berg

This week the trial of Dominic Ongwen [IJT-196] resumed in The Hague with the first witnesses testifying before the ICC. So far it is the prosecution setting up its case with expert witnesses on Ugandan history and the emergence of the Lords' Resistance Army (LRA) and army officials on how the radio intercepts of LRA communication worked.

IJT spoke with Ledio Cakaj, a researcher who has spent the last eight years interviewing hundreds of former LRA members, fighters, abductees and abductees-turned-fighters like Ongwen to understand how the LRA functions. He is also the author of the book “When the Walking Defeats You: One man's journey as Joseph Kony's bodyguard” which came out late last year. We asked Cakaj his views on the Ongwen case and the upcoming trial of Thomas Kwoyelo [IJT-192], another former LRA commander, in Uganda itself. Are these trials justice being done or were Kwoyelo and Ongwen just convenient defendants?

 

 

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Dominic Ongwen at the start of his ICC trial (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)
06 December 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg, The Hague (The Netherlands)

The first day of the trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen did not exactly go as planned for ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Whereas usually the opening of a case gives a podium to the prosecutor who can make sweeping statements about the responsibility of the accused for the atrocities they are charged with, in this case the Ongwen trial started with the defendant and his defence strategy squarely in the spotlight.

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Thomas Kwoyelo (centre) and his lead counsel, Caleb Alaka, at the Internal Crimes Division (Photo: Samuel Egadu Okiror)
28 April 2016 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Gulu (Uganda)

Six years after the first proceedings were halted, Uganda’s International Crimes Division (ICD) will on Monday 2 May begin the controversial trial of Thomas 

Kwoyelo, former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But experts question whether justice will be served.

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26 October 2011 by Mark Kersten

The decision to deploy 100 US troops to Uganda in order to contribute to efforts in the “hunt for Joseph Kony” has been, by and large, positively received

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Thomas Kwoyelo (centre) and his lead counsel, Caleb Alaka, at the Internal Crimes Division (Photo: Samuel Egadu Okiror)
21 April 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

Five years after the trial was halted, the Ugandan Supreme Court delivered an eagerly awaited decision in the war crimes case against Thomas Kwoyelo [IJT-176]. But instead of providing clarity, the ruling to lift the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander’s amnesty has been slammed by critics, calling it an example of double standards and selective prosecution.

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LRA child memorial (Photo: Flickr/Josh Zakary)
21 February 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

Uganda's decision to support the transfer of Dominic Ongwen [IJT-174] to the International Criminal Court (ICC), instead of trying the notorious Lord's Resistance Army commander at home, casts a shadow on the county's ability to hold domestic war crimes trials.

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24 March 2010 by Hélène Michaud

Former Ugandan Minister for Pacification Betty Bigome is one of the main negotiators between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the north of the country. She first met LRA leader Joseph Kony in 1994 and then again a decade later. She told the IJT about her encounters with one of Africa’s most brutal warlords.

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19 January 2011 by Mohammed Abdulrahman

As Southern Sudan takes its final steps towards separating from Khartoum and becoming an independent state, one of its immediate challenges will be how it would deal with international justice issues.

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07 February 2005 by Franck Petit

Uganda and Côte d'Ivoire : the ICC prosecutor puts his cards on the table, but debate continues in the UN Security Council over Darfur.

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