The International Criminal Court (ICC) trial chamber IX has sentenced Dominic Ongwen to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity in Uganda.
The Netherlands-based court Thursday’s 25 year joint conviction is for a total of 61 crimes that include murder, widespread rape, sexual enslavement, abducting children, torture and pillaging carried out in the early 2000s.
Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt before announcing the verdict said the chamber decided not to impose a sentence of life imprisonment on Dominic Ongwen because it is an exceptional case under the statutes of the court.
He will receive credit from January 2015 to today; May 6, 2021 for which he has was detained. The 5 year period will be deducted from the sentence. The sentence would have been for 30 years.
Judge Schmitt stated further that after Ongwen serves two thirds of his sentence, the court will then review the sentence for a reduction possibility.
Prosecutors had asked for a 20-year prison term, saying Ongwen’s own history as a schoolboy abducted by the LRA justifies a lower sentence than the maximum 30 years to life allowed by the ICC.
The defence on the other hand sought a 10-year prison term while victims of his crimes had asked the court to impose the full life sentence.
Ongwen, 45, was a former child soldier who became one of the top commanders of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
The LRA was founded 30 years ago by former Catholic altar boy and self-styled prophet Kony launched as rebellion against President Yoweri Museveni. It has now largely been wiped out.
According to the United Nations, the LRA’s brutal interpretation of the Bible’s Ten Commandments left more than 100,000 people dead and 60,000 children abducted.
The violent campaign eventually spread to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic (CAR).