ICC LORD RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)
KAMPALA - The presiding judge in the trial of former rebel commander of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) Dominic Ongwen has set March 10 as the day when lawyers will start making their closing statements at the Hague in the Netherlands.
In June 2018, a panel of three judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who are hearing the trial of Ongwen, visited Northern Uganda, the location where the two-decade insurgency happened, to familiarize themselves with the crime scenes.
Bertram Schmitt, the presiding judge in the trial of Ongwen, gave the lawyers until February 26, 2020 to file their closing statements, ahead of March 10, 2020.
Since the defense phase of the trial began in September 2018, 51 defense witnesses have testified to date.
The most recent defense witness to testify was Justine Edeku Ooja, a former member of the militia group, the Arrow Boys.
The prosecution phase of the trial began in December 2016 and concluded in April 2018.
During the prosecution phase of the trial, 69 witnesses testified in court over a period of 142 days, and in a recent statement, a representative from the Office of the Prosecutor said that the prosecution had presented testimonies of 116 witnesses.
Ongwen is accused of ordering the attack on Lukodi IDP Camp in Gulu district on May 19, 2004, killing about 40 civilian residents, according to ICC documents.
The attack took place in Bungatira Sub-County, Aswa County, near Gulu town. The place and dates of the offences did not exist in the original arrest warrant.
He is held ‘criminally responsible' on counts of crimes against humanity including murder, enslavement and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering.
He also faces counts of war crimes including murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population and pillaging.
Ongwen has been charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity that he is alleged to have committed as a commander of the Lord's Resistance Army.
The crimes are alleged to have occurred between July 2002 and December 2005 in northern Uganda. Ongwen has pleaded not guilty to all counts.