By Robert Edwomu
Soroti – 27, October 2021: The former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen was convicted to nearly three decades over various crimes.
After the conviction, people, including victims shared their feelings, differently.
A section of the victims that suffered directly under Ogwen’s command are now praying day and night to ensure that the appeal case is ruled in their favor to enable them earn reparation packages.
An appeal ruling against the ex-commander’s sentencing to 25 years in prison by The Hague based Court is expected soon.
On 6 May 2021, Ongwen was sentenced after trial Chamber IX of the International Criminal Court (ICC) found him guilty for a total of 61 crimes: crimes against humanity he committed in Northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005.
The crimes are from attacks against the civilian population in Pajule, Odek, Lukodi and Abok camps.
In May 2021, the Judges made “a call of reparation views” from experts, NGOs and individuals. The deadline will elapse on 6, December.
Weeks after sentencing, on 21 May 2021, Ongwen’s defense counsel led by Krispus Ayena Odongo appealed against it.
Speaking to Teso journalists Wednesday, Jimmy Otim who is the ICC’s Field Outreach Assistant for Uganda says the reparation of Ongwen’s victims is depending on the appeal ruling that will be delivered anytime.
He states that the call for reparation opinions has so far attracted 26 organizations and experts being granted the status to make submissions before 6, December 2021.
Otim says the organizations and experts are going to give information in line with what type of reparation, where and who should benefit, among other information.
Once the appeal verdict is delivered and reparation is upheld, Otim reveals it is only the victims of Ogwen’s crimes that will be liable for reparation not LRA victims in general.
“…because reparation is linked to a guilty verdict,” he adds.
Santos Labeja, one of the ICC coordinators in Teso sub region says the Court has done a lot therefore, they want to wait and see how much can people of Uganda gain from the ICC.
John Robert Ekopu, former arrow boy militia who killed one of the LRA commanders identified as ‘Opio’ in Odudui expressed dissatisfaction, looking at the “lengthy and tricky processes “.
Ekopu says having witnessed the way the LRA killed, boiled and forced other living human beings to eat the boiled dead bodies, Ongwen should have been sentenced to life imprisonment.