Q&A on the Dominic Ongwen and Thomas Kwoyelo cases

26 May 2017 - 15:05

We asked you what you wanted to know about what is happening in Ugandan transitional justice. Here Sarah Kasande of the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kampala answers your questions on the proceedings against Thomas Kwoyelo and Dominic Ongwen.

It feels like the proceedings against Thomas Kwoyelo have been going on for a very long time. What stage is his trial at now and why is it taking so long?

The Kwoyelo case is at the pretrial stage at the moment. During this stage the pretrial Judge handles a series of preliminary matters as required by the ICD rules. These include, orders on disclosure of evidence by the Defence and Prosecution, orders for the protection of witnesses, orders for the participation of victims and finally the confirmation of the charges contained in the indictment.

The current delay is caused by the application by the prosecution to amend the indictment to introduce charges of sexual violence and to prefer charges under common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Customary international law. In June, the pretrial judge will hear arguments from both the prosecution and defence on the application to amend the indictment.

Thereafter the Judge will on whether to allow or reject the amended indictment If all or part of the charges in the indictment are confirmed by the Pretrial Judge, the case will be forwarded to the trial panel of the ICD for the commencement of the trial.

Will the time that Thomas Kwoyelo has been in prison be accounted for?

This will be determined by the trial panel if he is convicted. However common practice is that time served while on remand is often taken into account during sentencing.

What stage is Dominic Ongwen’s trial at? What will happen next and how long will this trial take?

The Dominic Ongwen trial is at the hearing stage. Prosecution is presenting evidence to prove the charges against Ongwen. Prosecution witnesses are currently testifying before court. The defence has an opportunity to question the witnesses.

When the prosecution witnesses finish testifying and the prosecution closes its case, the defence will call its witnesses and the prosecution will also be given a chance to question them  

We’ve heard that reparations may be granted to victims if Dominic Ongwen is convicted at the ICC. Who bears the cost of this?

The practice at the ICC is that at the end of the trial where the accused has been convicted, the Trial Chamber may give an order that the convicted person pays reparations to the victims. Reparations may be collectively or individually and usually take the form of monetary compensation, return of property, rehabilitation or apologies.

In cases where the convict is found indigent and can’t afford the ordered reparations, there is a Trust Fund for Victims within the ICC jurisdiction, established by Member States to the Rome Statute. This raises the funds to comply with such reparation orders by the ICC.

Is there anything else you want to know? Let us know on our twitter page, our Facebook or by email at [email protected].

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Ongwen is did all those thing by somebody order BT(we loss our brother and sister) ICC let see and deicide. Lt took 1 ug.1 africa
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To be sincere, before any prosecution or judgement is take on somebody there are certain instances we should first analyse for example in Dominic's case now, we have to consider if joining the rebels was by will or forcefully, and if by will pass judgement and by force then we have to see that anything he was doing was also by force and as a matter he had no choice but to kill and rape as they are saying. If the government was to also see that because of their initial weakness this happened, then Dominic should come home and face justice here and atleast a maximum of 10years plus the government owing him an apology too as they could not protect their citizens by then. Dominic in my support should come home.
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when ongwen was abducted,where were gov't and human rights?
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If Ongwen was not protected at his childhood by gov't of Uganda. why don't the icc prosecute the gov't officials for failing to protect him?
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Brother,!! ICC have got no authority to do that, it's the gov't of uganda to put the corncern commanders in to account. Secondly, remember the security situation of the time bwana ONGWEN was abducted in that late 80s where-by the then NRA soldears couldn't even just make 10kms control of the areas away from any town in the all region of acholi and west-nile. I was there,i remember the era and the situation, ONGWEN is my age mate and was in the village like me, i know everything: where the gov't was wrong and where they couldn't do anything to save single life due to their in-ability to do that and the hostility(animosity) of the people in the region towards them since they have just removed them from power.
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The biggest concern goes to security personnel
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we shd sentenced them "life imprisonment "
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