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Former LRA leader, former child soldier, sentenced to 25 years in prison

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Former LRA leader, former child soldier, sentenced to 25 years in prison

A former leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, who had been kidnapped by the rebel group as a child, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday.

NEW YORK, USA, May 7, 2021, – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – Dominic Ongwen, 45, was convicted of 61 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape , murder and sexual slavery, committed in northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 31.

In summarizing the sentencing decision, Chief Justice Bertram Schmitt highlighted the unique nature of the case.

Victim and perpetrator

“The Chamber faces a unique situation in the present case. He faces a perpetrator who voluntarily and lucidly caused tremendous suffering to his victims, ”he said.

“However, he also faces a perpetrator who himself had previously endured extreme suffering at the hands of the group, of which he later became a prominent member and leader.”

Justice Smith said the House decided to give some weight to mitigate the circumstances of Ongwen’s childhood, kidnapping by the LRA at a very young age and his early tenure in the group.

The LRA was formed in the 1980s by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed prophet who has long been wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Children forced to kill

The group launched its insurgency in northern Uganda, targeting camps housing internally displaced people, eventually spreading to countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

It is estimated that up to 25,000 children were kidnapped and forced to fight in hostilities or to work as laborers.

As the LRA brigade commander, Mr. Ongwen sanctioned the murder of large numbers of civilians, forced marriage, sexual slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers, among other serious crimes.

He had been detained at the ICC, which is located in The Hague, in the Netherlands, since January 2015, and was convicted in February.

The period of detention will be deducted from your general prison sentence.

The ICC also issued an order to present reparations to its victims. The contributions of the parties in the case must be submitted before September 6 of this year, while those of “interested persons or organizations, in particular with local experience”, must be sent before July 7, 2021.

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