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    Ex-warlord’s ICC case: Defence witnesses line up to testify

    APA-Kampala (Uganda)

    The trial of Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of Uganda’s rebel outfit the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is set to resume at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 14th January after a break of nearly two months.

    According to a statement by the ICC on Friday, Ongwen’s lawyers will be calling the next set of witnesses they hope will help convince Trial Chamber IX that hthe former warlord is not guilty of the 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity that he has been charged with.

    Ongwen is alleged to have committed these crimes between July 2002 and December 2005 in northern Uganda.

    During their opening statements on September 18 last year, Ongwen’s lawyers argued that he should be acquitted of all charges against him.

    Presiding Bertram Schmitt, Judges Péter Kovács, and Raul C. Pangalangan are the three judges who make up Trial Chamber IX.

    The defense phase of the trial began in September last year.

    To date, the judges have heard evidence from 14 defense witnesses over a period of 19 days.

    The last defense witness to testify in 2018 concluded his testimony on November 19.

    Among the defense witnesses who have testified was Joe Kakanyero, a member of Ongwen’s clan, who told the court that the family did not know whether the former warlord was alive or dead for 28 years.

    Others who have testified are a former “wife” of LRA leader Joseph Kony, Jackson Acama, who told the court he once served as clerk to the spirits of the LRA, Nathan Iron Emory, a former bodyguard to one of Uganda’s presidents, Milton Obote, two ajwaka, or spirit mediums and an expert on former child soldiers of the LRA, Kristof Titeca.

    Six of the defense witnesses testified about the role of spirits in Acholi culture or in the LRA and, more generally, about Acholi culture.

    The witnesses who testified about spirits and Acholi culture were Yusuf Okwonga Adek Witness D-150, Harriet Adong, Jackson Acama, Witness D-06, and Kristof Titeca of the University of Antwerp.


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