ICC Upholds Child Soldier Ongwen Sentence

ICC Appeals Chamber has affirmed by majority judgment the court’s 25-year prison term it handed down to Dominic Ongwen on May 6, 2021.

The International Criminal Court’s Trial Chamber IX handed down the verdict after finding him guilty on 61 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes perpetrated in Northern Uganda between July 2002 and December 2005.

According to ICC, the conviction and punishment have now been rendered final. More details will be provided in a future press release.

Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan attached a partly dissenting opinion to the combined sentencing in May last year, indicating he would have sentenced the former child soldier to 30 years in jail.

Ongwen, who was 45 at the time, was found guilty of sexual slavery, forced marriage, and raping women who had been seized and kept in his care.

Despite the seriousness of the accusations, the judges indicated they would have handed him the maximum life sentence but delivered a more lenient sentence in consideration of Ongwen’s kidnapping as a child on his way to school in the late 1980s by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Ongwen, who was accused of 70 crimes but found guilty of only 61 of them, was kidnapped when he was nine years old.

He was subsequently groomed by the LRA rebels who had murdered his parents, and he rose to become a dreaded leader known for maiming his victims.

More than 4,000 victims testified in the case against him in The Hague.