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Ugandan victims have 'shot at justice' at the ICC

17 January 2015, 14:53

New York - Ugandan militia leader Dominic Ongwen's transfer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a welcome development, advocates for global human rights prosecutions said on Saturday.

Ongwen's transfer gives victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) an opportunity to see justice done, the Coalition for the ICC said.

The rebel brigade commander, is accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in northern Uganda in 2004.

"Seeing Ongwen at the ICC gives hope that the authors of some of the worst atrocities in recent memory will at last be held accountable," said Stephen Lamony, an adviser for the Coalition for the ICC.

"After waiting 10 years, victims of the LRA will now have a shot at justice."

Also Read: Ugandan rebel commander to face ICC

Ongwen was captured last week by US troops supporting African Union forces in the Central African Republic.

The Ugandan government on Friday denied Ongwen entry into the country to file papers for his trial at the Hague-based court. Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said there were fears he could be pardoned and never be handed on to the ICC.

Ongwen was transferred into the custody of the Ugandan contingent of the African Union Anti-LRA Task Force, and then to the ICC.

Ongwen will appear before the court to hear the charges against him, the coalition said.

Mohammed Ndifuna, chief executive of Human Rights Network-Uganda, said Ugandan civil society welcomed the prosecution.

"The significance of handing over Ongwen to the ICC cannot be over-emphasized," Ndifuna said.



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