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Witness: Kony Never Allowed Anyone to Urinate or Defecate Near Water

The trial of Dominic Ongwen resumed on Tuesday with the testimony of the fifth Defence witness, Nathan Emory Iron, a former officer in the Uganda People Front/ Uganda People Army (UPF/UPA).

On the first day of his testimony, on Monday, 22nd, Mr Emory described how he met Joseph Kony.

At the time the witness said that he was a “guest commander” with the LRA while this group was based in Aru, Sudan.

The witness explained that he was with LRA from around 1996 till 2000. He also said that the LRA was attacked in Aru and that the LRA moved to Jebellin after that attack.

He also spoke about the pressure the LRA was put under by the Sudanese government and the international community to release the abducted “Aboke school girls”.

According to International Justice Monitor, the witness was invited to Juba Sudan, to negotiate on behalf of the LRA with Sister Rachel, the Head Teacher of the Aboke School, about the release of the girls .

“Sister Rachel asked to release the girls and Kony didn’t accept,” the witness said.

He added that he stayed in Juba because the negotiations were taking a long time.

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He later on relocated to Khartoum, because the Cater Center wanted to “negotiate with Kony” for a peaceful conflict resolution regarding the abducted girls and as well as “peaceful negotiations” with the Uganda government.

The witness further said LRA had strict rules and regulations.

One of them was to “respect water”.

Kony “respected” and “revered” water and no one was allowed to urinate or defecate near water. Those who did not follow this rule were punished.

“They were punished because of the spirits’ love for water,” he added.  Water was used with oil to cleanse and protect in various rituals.

Young Boy

When asked about the accused, Dominic Ongwen, the witness that Ongwen was “a young boy at the time”, “a young officer”.

He explained that he was left under Ongwen’s command and the accused cared for him. “I didn’t see anything bad,” said witness added.

When asked by the Senior Trial Lawyer, Benjamin Gumpert, in cross-examination to clarify what a “guest commander” means, the witness said that it meant that he was “visiting another military unit and wasn’t actively involved in that unit”.

The Trial lawyer proceeded to read some documents that the witness had written on behalf of LRA to the Sudanese government.

The witness clarified he authored those documents under “instructions of Kony”.

He also said abducting girls doesn’t qualify for global peace and democracy.

He further stated that “all I was pushing for is a peaceful conflict resolution including releasing of the abducted girls and disbanding forced recruitment.” The cross-examination concluded in private session.

The Legal Representatives of Victims declined to question this witness.

The trial will continue on 24th October 2018 with the beginning of the testimony of the 6th Defence witness.

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