Danish Embassy, ICC Partner to Enable War Victims Follow Ongwen Trial

The Registrar of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Herman von Hebel and the Ambassador of Denmark to Uganda, Mogens Pedersen have Monday launched an “Access to Justice” project in Uganda.

This project, according to a July 17 statement from ICC, aims at facilitating the ICC’s continuous efforts to respond to the information demands of the communities affected by the conflict in northern Uganda.

The statement indicates that the initiative funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) through a grant of 210,000 euros, will enhance the capacity of the local population in Northern Uganda where the crimes were allegedly committed.

The fund will help in following the proceedings against Dominic Ongwen in the trial currently ongoing in The Hague.

This will also strengthen capacity of the religious and cultural leaders to further engage the members of their respective communities on issues related to the Court.

ICC Registrar Hebel, as per the communique, noted how the ICC have been fascinated  by the interest the Northern *Uganda Community showed in the Ongwen Case proceedings.

“This Project that we are inaugurating comes as a response to an enormous amount of interests that the victims and affected communities, as well as the other stakeholders, have shown in following the proceedings of the Dominic Ongwen trial,” the statement reads.

“It is our purpose, to transform these local interests into popular participation and ownership of the processes, and to strengthen local confidence in the Court’s work and in justice and accountability in general. It is our profound confidence, that this project will help us to bring the ICC courtrooms to every single member of the affected community.”

On his part, Pedersen stated that their partnership is projected towards bringing justice closer to the people who have suffered violence for more than two decades and want to see justice done and those responsible for the atrocities held accountable.

“We are optimistic that the activities that will be implemented by the ICC under this project will make international justice more accessible and relevant to the communities in northern Uganda who have been affected by the war.”

Under this project, the ICC Field Office in Kampala will provide video screening equipment at 23 locations where Dominic Ongwen is alleged to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There will also be creation and maintenance of interactive radio programmes and listening clubs through which the affected population could follow and discuss the trial; facilitate travels for cultural and religious leaders as well as journalists to attend trial proceedings at the seat of the Court in the Hague.

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