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The Financial Express

Ugandan rebel commander found responsible for war crimes

| Updated: February 11, 2021 11:01:13


Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the Lord's Resistance Army, enters the court room of the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands, December 06, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool/File Photo Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the Lord's Resistance Army, enters the court room of the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands, December 06, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Dejong/Pool/File Photo

A former Ugandan child soldier who became a commander of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army was convicted on Thursday of dozens of crimes, including widespread rape, sexual enslavement, child abductions, torture and murder, including killings of babies.

Dominic Ongwen was found guilty by the International Criminal Court of 61 out of 70 alleged counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A hearing in mid-April will consider a possible sentence, which could be up to life imprisonment, with a decision expected later this year.

Judges at the court said Ongwen, who himself was taken by the LRA as a young boy, had acted out of free will in committing “innumerable” crimes between 2002 and 2005, commanding several hundred soldiers.

“Mothers were forced to abandon their children in the bush. LRA fighters threw children, including babies, into the bush because the children were crying and making it difficult for their mothers to carry looted goods,” Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said, naming the victims and describing the crimes.

“His guilt has been established beyond any reasonable doubt,” he said.

Ongwen, wearing a tie and face mask, sat impassively in court, sometimes with his eyes closed, listening as the judgment was read out.

In a legal first, Ongwen was also convicted for the crime of forced pregnancy for atrocities committed against seven women

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