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ICC Prosecutor Bensouda Asks Court to Convict Ongwen Following Witness Statements

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, has asked the Trial Chamber to convict former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander, Dominic Ongwen for allegedly sexually abusing women, abducting and killing people during the 20-year insurgency in Northern Uganda.

At the closure of submission of witness statements at the Hague on Tuesday, the Prosecution team told a fully-packed courtroom that Ongwen is guilty of committing a number of human rights abuses between July 1, 2002 and December 31, 2005.

Mr Benjamin Gumpert, a trial lawyer, made the submission to the court after presenting the last batch of witnesses who accused Ongwen of raping them.

“He shut the door… he undressed me as well. He asked me to spread all my legs, he took hold of his penis, he put it in my vagina and he started forcefully having sex with me. I started crying, I was screaming and my voice was really loud,” a woman, who accused Ongwen of forcing her become his wife, said in a testimony before the ICC.

Gumpert told Court that LRA under Joseph Kony caused mayhem and untold suffering to the people of Northern Uganda.

Prosecution argued that the accused ordered abductions, monitored the training of children, used children under 15 as escorts and deployed children on military operations.

On charges relating to the attack on Pajule camp (counts 1-10), the Prosecution insists that the evidence proves beyond reasonable doubt that Ongwen committed heinous crimes.

Prosecution said in the days leading to the attack, Vincent Otti (deputy commander of the LRA), ordered Ongwen and other commanders to meet him in Pader District, Northern Uganda. Ongwen responded to that call and then joined Otti on October 5, 2003.

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Shortly, before October 10, 2003, Otti, Ongwen and other senior commanders agreed to attack Pajule. Ongwen then allegedly instructed some of his subordinates to select LRA fighters to form part of the attacking force, the Prosecution said.

At dawn of October 10, 2003, LRA fighters attacked Pajule IDP camp.

“Mr Ongwen’s role was to lead a group to attack a trading centre in Pajule. The attack caused havoc, civilians were murdered and they were abducted in their hundreds,” the Prosecution argued.

The Trial Chamber will soon deliver its verdict.

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