Ongwen prosecution sets historic landmark for ICC

By Ritah Kemigisa

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has observed that the trial of former Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen has been a landmark in the court’s 20year history for taking the shortest prosecution period.

The Hague-based court revealed on Tuesday that the prosecution of Ongwen’s trial which kicked off in January 2017 closed in April this year and announced that his defense would begin in August this year.

Addressing journalists in Kampala the ICC international cooperation adviser Dahirou Sant-Anna said this prosecution time has been the shortest in all the cases handled and expressed optimism that Ongwen’s defense could also take a short time.

Dahirou meanwhile says the demeanor of Ongen during his prosecution has been relatively good as he was often seen taking notes.

He also notes that the only challenge the court faced during Ongwen’s prosecution has been the many reductions that were made in order not to jeopardize the investigation.

Meanwhile, the ICC has refuted claims that it is lenient to countries that largely contribute to its funding as compared to African countries.

The ICC has been criticized particularly by the African Union for its focus on Africa.

According to the courts outreach officer Maria Kamara, the outcome of the investigation of the courts proceeding can never be influenced by the funders. Japan is among the court’s current leading funders.

The courts international cooperation advisor Dahirou Sant-Anna also insists that the court carries out its mandate independently according to the Rome Statute and does not receive strategies from donor countries on how they should handle cases.