ICC Registrar In Uganda Ahead Of Ongwen Trial

By Nelson Wesonga

A day to the start of the Dominic Ongwen trial, at The Hague, Netherlands, International Court Court (ICC) registrar Herman Von Hebel is in the country to witness first-hand how victims of the LRA war feel about, or respond to, the trial thousands of miles away of an alleged perpetrator.

ICC outreach coordinator for Kenya and Uganda, Maria Mabinty Kamara, says the Registrar is expected to address a news conference in Kampala this morning before travelling to Gulu for a meeting with elected, religious, cultural as well as civil society leaders.

A panel of three ICC judges led by Bertram Schmitt will tomorrow begin hearing the case against former Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander, Dominic Ongwen, who is facing 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The other judges are Philippine’s Raul Cano Pangalangan and Hungarian academic Péter Kovács.

Hebel is expected, alongside residents, to watch proceedings of the trial in Abok, one of northern Uganda’s former IDP camps attacked in a raid allegedly commanded by Ongwen.

Tomorrow’s televised trial of Ongwen, one of five top LRA commanders indicted in 2005, comes two years since his arrest and transfer to the ICC.

Fatou Bensouda, the ICC chief prosecutor, in a video released ahead of tomorrow’s trial, said they will present intercepted radio communications, testimonies by victims as well as video and other documentary evidence to incriminate Ongwen.