Ex-tyke officer Dominic Ongwen denies atrocities at ICC trial

A previous volunteer army pioneer from northern Uganda has denied carrying out atrocities including assault and murder, on the opening day of his trial at the worldwide criminal court at The Hague, saying that as a tyke fighter taken by constrain from his home by the association he was a casualty of its abominations, not a culprit.

Dominic Ongwen, once a dreaded officer of the Ruler's Resistance Armed force, told judges in an emotional upheaval that he was "one of the general population against whom the LRA submitted outrages". He said: "for the sake of God, I deny every one of these charges."

The trial of is a standout amongst the most groundbreaking in the ICC's 14-year history, and brings up troublesome issues of duty and fault. Ongwen, who is somewhere around 35 and 40 years of age, is the primary previous kid fighter to face trial at the disputable foundation and the main litigant to be both asserted culprit and casualty of similar violations.

Ongwen was snatched by the LRA at 10 years old when coming back from school and is thought to have been compelled to take an interest in battle and fierce acts against regular people as a kid. He told the court he ought not be on trial.

"I am not the LRA … It is the LRA who kidnapped individuals in northern Uganda. It is the LRA who slaughtered individuals," Ongwen said, talking through a translator.

A court official required just about 20 minutes to peruse the 70 charges against Ongwen. They included murder, endeavored kill, torment, assault, sexual bondage and, surprisingly, "constrained pregnancy" and "constrained marriage".

Driven by Joseph Kony, a previous revolt pioneer who asserted to be religiously propelled, the LRA battled crosswise over five nations in east and focal Africa for about 30 years.

The gathering has been reprimanded for the passings of around 100,000 individuals and the snatching of 60,000 kids. It depended on the kidnapping of to a great extent helpless villagers and exiles, including kids, to give work and soldiers. Young ladies were constrained into sexual and residential servitude while young men were compelled to submit outrages and adapted to accept such acts were essential and legitimized.

The majority of the charges against Ongwen concentrate on a progression of assaults on exile camps somewhere around 2002 and 2005. One of the most exceedingly awful included a four-day strike by the LRA on camps in north-eastern Congo in December 2009, in which around 350 regular folks were killed and another 250, including no less than 80 youngsters, were snatched.

Safeguard legal counselors will contend that a great part of the confirmation against Ongwen is problematic and say their customer was brutalized and damaged subsequent to being kidnapped.

"He was tormented … compelled to watch individuals being murdered, utilized for battling as a kid fighter. Indeed, even the indictment have said that what he experienced is a genuine relieving variable," said Thomas Obhof, a US legal advisor situated in Uganda and part of the barrier group.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the court that past exploitation as a youngster may be an alleviating variable in sentencing however was not a safeguard of Ongwen's charged choice to "wholeheartedly" grasp brutality.

"Ongwen was specifically required in many assaults on regular citizens … He realized that the wrongdoings he conferred were a piece of far reaching and precise assaults … He assumed a vital part in … . the snatching of youngsters with a specific end goal to keep up the battling quality of the LRA," she told the court.

Bensouda said onlookers recollected Ongwen offering requests "to nibble and stone an old man to death" and refered to confirmation that most of the kids in Ongwen's "legion" were youthful adolescents who were routinely compelled to partake in torment and murder "to persuade them there could be no acknowledgment for them back in the public arena".

Charge number 69 against Ongwen included the affirmed enrollment of kids less than 15 years old into an equipped gathering, while charge number 70 claimed the utilization of kids as soldiers in an outfitted gathering between July 2002 and December 2005.

Ledio Cakaj, the writer of When the Strolling Routs You, a book that records the encounters of a bodyguard to the LRA pioneer, Kony, said the trial raised "an exceptionally precarious issue". He said: "A great deal of these individuals of the LRA, who are considered as the awful folks, were in some sense casualties in any case … There are exceptionally fascinating inquiries here."

The LRA is presently accepted to involve just around 100 warriors, yet remains dreaded by regular folks in remote groups and a motivation to other local army bunches, which have duplicated its ruthless techniques. Consistently brings reports of proceeding with assaults.

Of the five senior LRA pioneers arraigned by the ICC 11 years prior, just Ongwen and his previous pioneer, Kony, are still alive. In spite of a $5m (£3.5m) remunerate for data prompting to his catch, Kony stays tricky.

Africa is still wracked by local army gatherings and aggressor outfits. Cakaj said that despite the fact that the trial managed occasions that happened 10 years or all the more back it would raise issues that were pertinent at this point.

Boko Haram, the Nigeria-based Islamist fanatic association, has kidnapped countless men and ladies, with some taking up battle parts or notwithstanding propelling suicide assaults.

"The issues are vital today … Any lessons can be connected to continuous clashes [in Africa] as well," Cakaj said.

The case is significant for the ICC, as well. Immense assets have been put resources into building an argument against the LRA pioneers, whose capture warrants were the initially issued by the court.

The ICC, established in 2002 to convey to equity culprits of violations that nearby criminal frameworks can't manage, has been censured in Africa by some who consider it to be a supremacist, settler organization. Nine out of the 10 cases being examined by the ICC include affirmed violations in Africa, and late months have seen South Africa, the Gambia, and Burundi declare their withdrawal from the court. It is conceivable, be that as it may, that none will leave, particularly since races in the Gambia removed Yahya Jammeh.

In September, the court indicted Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, who confessed to bulldozing medieval hallowed places, tombs and a fifteenth century mosque that framed part of the Unesco world legacy site in Timbuktu, Mali, when the city was seized by Islamic aggressors in 2012. Mahdi was sentenced to nine years in jail.

Safeguards say most of the examinations have taken after an unequivocal demand or concede of locale from the administration in the nation where the violations were submitted, as on account of Uganda; while others say feedback of the organization came when it began researching acts that had been conferred by ebb and flow rulers or their nearby partners from 2009.

Thousands in Uganda are viewing the Ongwen trial in The Hague on screens set up by the ICC at survey destinations in the four areas where the most noteworthy charged wrongdoings were submitted. The trial has been hailed by human rights campaigners.

"The ICC trial of Dominic Ongwen is a noteworthy first on equity for LRA barbarities," said Elise Keppler, relate global equity chief at Human Rights Watch. "The LRA initiative is criticized worldwide for its ruthlessness against Africans, however at no other time has a LRA leader confronted trial."
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