Tag Archives: ICC

ICC: Uganda Ongwen-victim and villain

04.02.2021 The Hague, The Netherlands: War crimes judges deliver their verdict in the case of Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan child soldier turned top field commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group known for extreme violence and forcing women into sexual slavery.

Ongwen, 45, faces 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity and could be imprisoned for life if convicted. Judges will not address sentencing on Thursday, February 4.

Ongwen’s case is complex because under the law “you have either a victim or a perpetrator and anything in between is very difficult to squeeze in,” said Barbora Hola, senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement.

The ruling at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be the first dealing with crimes by the LRA, New York-based Human Rights Watch said.

It highlights the difficulty of trying somebody who, as a conscripted child soldier, is both an alleged perpetrator and a victim. His lawyers have asked for acquittal.

Detained in 2015, Ongwen remains in the court’s custody, and his 3.5-year-trial ended in March 2020.

Ongwen’s lawyer insisted that the brutal life in the LRA affected his mental health and his capacity to make independent decisions.

“When Ongwen was abducted he had no option, he was made a slave. That slavery continued until he left the bush,” lawyer Krispus Odongo said to the judges in closing arguments.

But prosecutors countered that Ongwen was an adult at the time of the alleged offences and cannot be excused of responsibility.

Led by fugitive warlord Joseph Kony, the LRA terrorized Ugandans for nearly two decades as it battled the government of President Yoweri Museveni from bases in the north of the country and in what is now South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

The case at the ICC focused on 2002-2005, when prosecutors said members of the LRA carried out crimes including murder, rape, sexual slavery, forced marriage, torture, pillaging and the conscription of children under the age of 15 for fighting.

After being abducted by the LRA as a boy, Ongwen worked his way up to a commander, overseeing the Sinia Brigade, one of the group’s four main operational units with up to 800 fighters.

Darfur: Sudan willing ICC trials

Sudan government said it was willing to discuss trials for people wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), a group that includes ousted leader Omar al-Bashir, Bloomberg Africa reports.

The Information Ministry on June 10 also welcomed the detention in neighboring Central African Republic  (CAR) of Ali Muhammad Ali Abdi-Al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, who’d been indicted on war-crimes charges for his role in the Darfur conflict in 2003 and 2004.

In February the Transitional government of Sudan said that all ICC suspects would appear before the Court as a condition of a peace deal that’s being negotiated with rebels. Authorities haven’t clarified whether this would mean they would be transported to the Hague or standing trial remotely.

Kremlin consent to Gaddafi’s son political ambitions

Saif al-Islam, the son of the assassinated Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, should have a chance to run for the country’s top office, a high-ranking Russian diplomat said.
“Our position is that no one should be isolated and excluded from a constructive political role,” Mikhail Bogdanov Deputy Foreign Minister told Russian RIA Novosti news agency. Saif al-Islam has the backing of specific tribes in Libya and all this should be part of the overall political process.” But not only, what Russian diplomat did not mention is backing of al-Islam by Libyans in exile, willing to return home. In a recent survey 92% of Libyans in Egypt are supporting the restoration of Gaddafi ‘dynasty’.

The report on Saif al-Islam’s contacts with Russia is part of a larger narrative about Russia’s role in the conflict-torn country, which was disintegrated after the NATO-backed uprising overthrew Gaddafi in 2011.

After the assassination of his powerful father, Saif al-Islam spent years as a prisoner of militias in the western Libyan city of Zintan. Gaddafi’s heir has long declared his intention to run for Libyan presidency.

The restoration of Gaddafi family rule can be interesting for all those who are willing to return the vanished treasures of Colonel Gaddafi to Libyan people, and restore the interrupted contracts with multiple foreign companies.

However the re-establishing of Saif al-Islam on political scene would meet opposition of both incumbent leaders in Tripoli and Benghazi, who became opponents of the Colonel, and according to his family “betrayed” him in an attempt of power grab.

It would also re-open the requests of the investigation of the circumstances of the backed by the West coup d’état in 2011, and reasons behind Colonel Gaddafi lynching.

“The death of Muammar Gaddafi, on 20th October 2011 in Syriais one of the questions to should be clarified. There are serious suspicions about it being a war crime“, said Luis Moreno-Campo  the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague one month after the incident. The investigation of the circumstances of Gaddafi death was never carried out, on contrary it was “blessed’ by Hillary Clinton, the US State Secretary, who openly cheered when receiving the news.

Gaddafi‘s death closes a very unfortunate chapter in Libya‘s history‘, Hillary Clinton said, however life showed contrary, the overwhelming majority of Libyans refer to Gaddafi rule as ‘Golden Age’.

After the coup d’état till present Libya is considered as a failed state caught in turmoil of a ongoing conflict, a play ground of international terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Nushrah and many others.

 

 

 

Congolese Bemba liberation as blow to prosecution

The International Criminal Court (ICC), The Hague, the Netherlands, on Friday, June 8, overturned the war crimes conviction of former Democratic Republic of Congo Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba,  considered as a huge blow to prosecutors that could also impact politics in his home country in future.

Bemba was one of only four people convicted by the permanent war crimes court in its 16 years of operation, and the highest ranking among them. He had been convicted of murder, rape and pillage for actions by fighters he sent to Central African Republic to back CAR’s then-president Ange-Felix Patasse.

Judge Christine Van den Wijngaert said Bemba, once the leader of Congo’s main opposition party, could not be held responsible for crimes carried out by troops under his control in CAR in 2002-2003.

Dismissing his 18-year-sentence, she said trial judges had failed to consider his efforts to stop crimes committed by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) once he became aware of them, and how difficult it would have been for him to control the troops’ actions from a distance.

Mr Bemba cannot be held criminally responsible for the crimes committed by MLC troops during the Central African Republic operation,” she said, reading the ruling of a 5-judge appeal panel. Bemba’s efforts to stop the crimes “extinguished his responsibility in full”, she said.