A FORMER child soldier who led a notorious Ugandan rebel group has been convicted of crimes against humanity by the Hague’s International Criminal Court.
Daniel Ongwen, the former leader of the internationally infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) militia group, has been convicted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Ongwen’s defense lawyers claimed that the former rebel leader was forced to become a child soldier at a young age before rising up the ranks to lead the LRA – a brutal militia group responsible for countless shocking war crimes in Uganda.
The ICC, based in the Hague, found the 45-year old guilty of 61 counts of crimes against including war crimes, crimes against humanity, murder, rape, torture, sexual enslavement, and pillaging, among others. The case’s judge told the court that there was insufficient evidence to rule that Ongwen “suffered from any mental disease or disorder during the period relevant to the charges, or that he committed these crimes under duress”.
Over 4000 victims of the LRA’s campaign of horrific violence and terror had their testimonies presented to the court, with gruesome footage of massacres and mass graves presented during the trial. Ongwen is now the first war criminal to be convicted of forced pregnancy by an international court.
Although he has yet to receive his sentence, the warlord is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. The ICC is reserved for the most serious crimes against humanity and has convicted war criminals from conflicts across Africa and former Yugoslavia among others.
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