The United States welcomes the International Criminal Court judgment affirming the conviction of former Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The conclusion of Ongwen’s appeal, filed against the February 2021 verdict that sentenced him to a 25-year prison term, confirms his culpability in the horrific and irreversible destruction of thousands of lives and scars upon multiple generations. This is the ICC’s first appeals judgment related to crimes committed in Uganda.
“For the thousands of abducted young women and girls subjected to horrific sexual violence, torture, and forced labor in the Lord’s Resistance Army, and all the victims and survivors of LRA violence and abuse, we hope this judgment demonstrates that justice must and will be done,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement.
The Lord’s Resistance Army, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, launched a war in northern Uganda in 1987. For over two decades, the group attacked the Ugandan armed forces and terrorized the local population. Besides massacres and destruction of property, the LRA systematically targeted and abducted children to become its soldiers and sex slaves. It is infamous for having conscripted 66,000 children and driven about 2 million people into camps. Over the years, various military campaigns by the Ugandan Army weakened the group and pushed its members into neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The rebel group has now largely been wiped out.
Ongwen’s commander, Joseph Kony, is still at large. The United States played a key role in ensuring the transfer of Dominic Ongwen to the ICC and continues to offer a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of Joseph Kony. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a WhatsApp message to +1-202-975-5468; your identity will remain confidential.