Former Uganda LRA commander faces trial

Africa

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to deliver its verdict in the trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former child soldier turned rebel commander. He is accused of 70 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Ongwen faces a string of horrific charges which include, murder, rape, torture, sexual slavery and use of child soldiers between 2002 and 2004.

He went on trial in December 2016, pleading not guilty to the charges at the start of proceedings and continued to deny all accusations.

Ongwen is said to have committed the crimes while he was a commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda.

According to rights groups, the LRA abducted tens of thousands of children for use as soldiers and sexual slaves, and killed and maimed thousands of civilians in remote regions of northern Uganda, north-eastern Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic during its three-decade insurgency, which ended in 2005.

Although sentencing will happen at a later date, if convicted, Ongwen faces life imprisonment.

Thursday will mark the first time the Hague-based ICC has issued a judgement in a case involving the LRA.

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