Justice Update – Sarah Kasande on Ongwen at the ICC

Dominic Ongwen declared guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Uganda in February 2021 (Photo: Flickr/ICC-CPI)

What can someone who has been in a murderous armed group for more than twenty years, controlled by a charismatic leader, found guilty of more than 60 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape, forced marriage, torture, sexual slavery, enslavement, and forced pregnancy – what can he possibly tell a court that will maybe – mitigate the sentence against him?

Dominic Ongwen, a commander with the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda, himself abducted as a child by the LRA made a personal statement to the International Criminal Court. If you want to watch it yourself here.

Judges have already found him guilty. The sentencing hearing is an opportunity for both prosecution and defence and victims representatives  to give their opinions on what factors the judges should take into account when deciding how many years he should go to jail. 

We caught up with Sarah Kasande, head of the Kampala office for the International Centre for Transitional Justice, to ask what victim communities in northern Uganda thought of Ongwen’s statement.

On the topic of reparations – a crucial part of the accountability process – check out our previous recent Justice Update including Mali, and the series we did for JusticeInfo.net.