Ongwen trial resumes, and former Romanian Pres charged domestically with CAH


ICC Ongwen trial resumes with Prosecution case: Last December, opening statements were given by the Prosecution and victims in the Ongwen case. On 17 January, the trial resumed with the beginning of the Prosecution case. The Defence said it would give its opening statements before the beginning of its case.  Dominic Ongwen, who is now 41, is a former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). He was abducted by the LRA at the age of 10 to be a child soldier. As such, he is “the first former child soldier to face trial at the institution and the first defendant to be both alleged perpetrator and victim of the same crimes”. He is charged with seventy counts of crimes against humanity including murder, attempted murder, torture, rape, sexual slavery, alleged conscription of children under the age of 15 into an armed group, forced pregnancy and forced marriage. On 6 December 2016, Mr. Ongwen pleaded not guilty and maintained that as a child soldier, he should be treated as a victim rather than a perpetrator. The prosecution team stated that even though “past victimisation as a child might be a mitigating factor in sentencing”, it was not “a defence of Ongwen’s alleged decision to “wholeheartedly” embrace violence”. The prosecution will call at least 70 witnesses. Defence lawyers, amongst which Thomas Obhof, will argue that Mr. Ongwen was “brutalised and traumatised after being abducted” and that much of the evidence is unreliable.  Joseph Kony, former leader of the LRA indicted by the ICC at the same time as Dominic Ongwen, remains elusive. (The Guardian; RFI ; Africa News)


Romania indicts former President for CAH: Romania’s Military Prosecutor’s Office charged Ion Iliescu, former Romania President, of crimes against humanity for having allegedly used miners for quashing an anti-government demonstration in Bucharest from 13 to 15 June 1990. Other former officials have apparently already been indicted, and some others like PM Petre Roman and Deputy PM Gelu Voican-Voiculescu are currently being investigated in relation to the case. The Prosecutor’s Office alleges that the former President organised and coordinated “a total and systematic attack” against the civilian population of the capital and the demonstrators at the University square in Bucharest with the participation of armed forces of the Interior Ministry, the information service and “over 10,000 miners and workers from other regions of the country”. The Prosecution alleges that “4 persons were killed with firearms, 3 were wounded, physical and psychological trauma was inflicted on 1,269 persons and 1,242 persons were sent to prison for political reasons”. (Novinite)


News Courtesy: ICL media review | News Uploader: Shafi Nawaz

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