Dominic Ongwen
Dominic Ongwen

Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen appeared before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday for war crimes ranging from enslavement to mutilation and murder.

Dominic Ongwen
Dominic Ongwen

Ongwen, who claims to be 40 but whom experts estimate to be just 34, gave himself up in the Central African Republic at the beginning of January before being handed over to the International Criminal Court’s prison in Scheveningen near The Hague last week.

The court issued a warrant for Ongwen in July 2005 on seven counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The United States had offered a warrant of 5 million dollars for his arrest.

Ongwen was himself a child victim of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in which he commands a brigade: in 1990 when he was just 10 years old, he was kidnapped in northern Uganda on his way to school and forced to take up arms.

Human rights organizations say Ongwen rose very quickly through the ranks of the LRA, while former co-combatants praise him for his fearlessness at the head of the Sinia Brigade.

Ongwen belonged to the high command of the LRA under the much-feared leader, Joseph Kony, who is still at large.



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