Former Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, commander Dominic Ongwen has been convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
Ongwen, the first member of the LRA to appear before the court, was convicted on 61 of the 70 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes he faced. The charges relate to attacks on four camps for internally displaced people in Uganda in 2003 and 2004. He was convicted of several war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder, torture, enslavement, conscripting children under fifteen, persecution, forced marriage, rape, and forced pregnancy. This is the first conviction for forced pregnancy by any international criminal tribunal.
Ongwen, whose sentence is to be handed down at a later date, could face life imprisonment.
The United States welcomes the conviction of Ongwen for war crimes and crimes against humanity . “This is a significant step for justice and accountability for atrocities committed by the LRA,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement. “We hope that this verdict brings some measure of peace to the many victims.”
The United States helped facilitate the voluntary surrender and transfer of Ongwen to the ICC in 2015. “While we continue to believe the ICC is in need of significant reform,” said Spokesperson Price, “we are pleased to see Ongwen brought to justice.”
“We hope Ongwen’s conviction demonstrates to the people of Uganda that the perpetrators of the crimes committed against them will be held accountable, there will be justice, and the horrible legacy of the LRA’s tactics to perpetuate and prolong violence and abuse will be addressed,” Spokesperson Price added.
The United States continues to offer a reward of up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. Anyone with information about him or his whereabouts can email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp text message to +1-202-975-5468.