"In the name of God, I deny all these charges in respect to the war in northern Uganda,"
Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), looks on at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, on December 6, 2016.
Child soldier-turned-warlord Dominic Ongwen denied 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity on Tuesday when he became the first member of Uganda's brutal Lord's Resistance Army to ever go on trial.
Ongwen, 41, is also the first former child soldier to be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his role in the notorious rebel group led by the elusive Joseph Kony.
"In the name of God, I deny all these charges in respect to the war in northern Uganda," Ongwen said, when he was asked to plead after all 70 charges containing a litany of horrific crimes were read out to him.
"I am not the LRA. The LRA is Joseph Kony who is the leader," he told the court.
"It was the LRA who abducted people. It was the LRA who killed them," Ongwen said, adding he was "one of the people who had crimes committed" against them.
A self-styled mystic and prophet, Kony launched a bloody rebellion against Kampala some three decades ago seeking to impose his own version of the Ten Commandments on northern Uganda.
The UN says it has slaughtered more than 100,000 people and abducted 60,000 children since it was set up in 1987.
"The LRA leadership is reviled worldwide for its brutality against Africans, but never before has an LRA commander faced trial," said Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch.