The International Criminal Court has expressed commitment to delivering a speedy and fair trial of Dominic Ongwen a former commander of Uganda’s rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi the president of the Court made the vow while concluding a visit to Uganda on Friday.
42-year-old Dominic Ongwen is charged with seventy counts including war crimes, murder, enslavement, and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering.
“Violence is unacceptable and those who commit acts of violence must be prosecuted. This is why the ICC was created to try perpetrators of serious crimes of war, genocide and crimes against humanity,” she stated.
Survivors of the conflict expressed fear that breaks and too many processes will unnecessarily delay the trial of Dominic Ongwen who was himself abducted as a child and press-ganged into the LRA.
Judge Fernandez concurred with the victims saying “the trial is likely to take long because all sides must be heard and heard fairly”.
She noted that the prosecution has lined up many witnesses who must first testify against Dominic Ongwen before the defence is given chance to call its own witnesses.
“The trial will be done expeditiously so that justice is accorded to the victims who have already waited for a long time,” she stressed.
Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi told victims of the conflict she met in Gulu district of Northern Uganda not to give up on justice since it also took a long time for Ongwen to be surrendered to the ICC.
The victims also urged the ICC to support them through vocational skills training for their children to attend schools.
The ICC president started her Uganda visit on February 23 to acquaint herself with activities of the Court’s Trust Fund for Victims.