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Uganda: Former LRA commander, Ongwen, bags 25 yrs sentence for war crimes

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Agency Report |

Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Commander, Dominic Ongwen has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Uganda.

Ongwen faced 70 charges linked to a reign of terror in the early 2000 by the LRA, whose fugitive chief Joseph Kony waged a bloody campaign to set up a state based on the Bible’s Ten Commandments.

He was convicted in February of 61 crimes including rape, sexual enslavement, child abductions, torture and murder.

Ongwen could have received a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in prison, but prosecutors asked for a 20-year prison term. They argued that Ongwen’s history of being abducted by the LRA as a schoolboy justified a lower sentence.

The court agreed that Ongwen’s kidnapping and circumstances are compelling but felt they could not be disregarded.

“The chamber is confronted in the present case with a unique situation. It is confronted with a perpetrator who willfully brought tremendous suffering upon his victims,” Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said.

“However, it is also confronted with a perpetrator who himself had previously endured extreme suffering himself at the hands of the group of which he later became a prominent member and leader.”

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