Ongwen Case: ICC Appeals Chamber Confirms Conviction and Sentence

Ongwen Case: ICC Appeals Chamber Confirms Conviction and Sentence
Source © Nambasi/Pixabay, 2017.

Alice Versini-O’Donnell 

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

On the 15th of December, 2022, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its judgement confirming the Trial Chamber’s conviction and sentencing decision in Dominic Ongwen’s case. The Trial Chamber found Ongwen guilty of 61 crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Northern Uganda between July 1st, 2002 and December 31st, 2005, sentencing him to 25 years imprisonment. 

Ongwen had been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) at the age of 9 and had trained and integrated as a fighter into the LRA ranks. The Court highlighted that his abduction as a young child and his early years spent in the adverse and extremely violent environment of the LRA brought him great suffering, but confirmed the Trial Chamber’s findings and rejected the exclusion of criminal responsibility by way of mental disease or duress. They further rejected the Defence’s allegations of violations to Ongwen’s right to a fair trial and other human rights. The Court also confirmed the interpretation and factual findings concerning sexual and gender-based crimes, including the crime of forced mariage as a form of other inhumane acts and the crime of forced pregnancy. The conviction and sentence are now final. 

Sources and further reading: 

International Criminal Court, Press Release, ‘Ongwen case: ICC Appeals Chamber confirms the conviction and sentencing decisions’ (15 December 2022). 

International Criminal Court, Summary, ‘Judgment of the Appeals Chamber in The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen’ (15 December 2022).