LRA commander’s Hague trial sparks debate in Uganda

28 January 2015 by Samuel Egadu Okiror, Kampala (Uganda)

The handover of Dominic Ongwen, a notorious Ugandan commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has raised debate on whether he should face trial or be pardoned.

Ex-LRA commander Dominic Ongwen makes his first appearance at the ICC (Flickr/ICC-CPI)
Image caption: 
Ex-LRA commander Dominic Ongwen makes his first appearance at the ICC (Flickr/ICC-CPI)

Ongwen, who after being abducted into the LRA at age 14 rose in the ranks as a protégé of leader Joseph Kony, is the first indicted LRA rebel to appear before the ICC. Early this month, he was detained in the Central African Republic and now faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity [IJT-174].

The ICC’s first-ever arrest warrants were against LRA chiefs in 2005, shortly before the three-decade-long war in northern Uganda ended. It left hundreds of thousands dead, thousands abducted and forced at least 1.8 million people into IDP camps at the conflict’s height. 

And yet, locals do not want to see a fellow Acholi ethnic group member on trial. 

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