Central African Republic: LRA leader Dominic Ongwen arrives in The Hague for war crimes trial

LRA leader Dominic Ongwen arrives in The Hague for war crimes trial

BBC News Africa

20 January 2015


Top Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen has arrived in The Hague to stand trial on war crimes charges.

Mr Ongwen, a feared commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), was taken into US custody in the Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this month.

Uganda agreed that he should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC), despite being a fierce critic of The Hague-based court.

US and African forces had been searching for Mr Ongwen since 2011.

He is said to be the deputy to LRA commander Joseph Kony, who is still on the run.

The ICC said in a statement that Mr Ongwen would be held in a detention centre in the Netherlands until his trial.

He would undergo a medical visit upon his arrival and a date would soon be set for his first court appearance, the statement added.

The BBC’s Anna Holligan in The Hague said the case will be an uncomfortable one for the ICC.

The court is fiercely outspoken on the use of child soldiers, she says, yet Dominic Ongwen was himself kidnapped and groomed by Joseph Kony’s notorious rebel army when he was just 10 years old.

The US is not a signatory to the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, but it facilitated Mr Ongwen’s transfer to the court.

It offered a $5m (£3.3m) reward in 2013 for information leading to his arrest.

Mr Ongwen is accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including enslavement.

Featured Image: The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Mr Ongwen in 2005. Copyright: AFP

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