By Bill Oketch
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has asked the people of northern Uganda not to lose hope in the ongoing trial of Dominic Ongwen saying they have “credible evidence” to pin the suspect.
The ICC team was in Lira town for a stakeholder informative session, mainly to provide update on the trial.
The victims in Lango, once a war-ravaged area, have often expressed disappointment with how the ICC is handling the trial.
However, Beti Hohler, an associate trial lawyer says they have been able to present credible evidence before the judges about what happened.
Ongwen, a former child soldier turned rebel commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army Senior Brigade, is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity in northern Uganda.
His trial commenced on December 6, 2016, and is on-going at the seat of the court in The Hague, Netherlands.
Mr Anthony Otim of Uganda Human Rights Commission said the trial is taking longer than many people had hoped.
“You can imagine since 2016 when Ongwen was arrested, this is 2019 we still do not know where it (the case) is going,” he said.
Mr Otim also told the International Cooperation Adviser in the Office of the Prosecutor, Mr Dahirou Sant-Anna, to advise the ICC to set a timeframe within which cases are handled.
The LC1 chairman of Jinja camp Village in Lira Municipality, Mr Leone Obira, said Ongwen is already guilty as charged, and therefore he should be jailed.
Mr Charles Edok Ongom of Lango Cultural Foundation said the defence is trying to pervert justice by bringing Kony’s spiritual attributes in the trial.
“We are not expecting any justice now because you cannot prove that Ongwen was possessed by the spirits. A moment you start talking about that, it means there is now going to be no justice,” he said.
The traditional leader added: “There is nothing we should expect from ICC. Now that we are not expecting any justice, let ICC do something else for the people who have been subjected to this mental and physical torture.”
Abducted at 9, Ongwen now stands trial for 70 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC).