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Motion on defects on charges against Dominic Ongwen gains ICC support

FILE PHOTO: Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The International Criminal Court-ICC has directed Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to respond to a motion seeking dismissal of all charges against Dominic Ongwen.

The motion filed by the Defense of Dominic Ongwen on February 1st implicates the Prosecution and Trial Chamber II of the Court for irregularly confirming 70 charges and six modes of liability of war crimes, crimes against humanity and sexual crimes against Dominic Ongwen.

Krispus Ayena Odongo, Dominic Ongwen’s lead lawyer stated in the motion that Trial Chamber II ignored serious defects and omissions from Prosecution in the notice of the Charges in confirming the charges against Dominic Ongwen.

Ayena accuses the prosecution of failing to clearly spell out the specifics of the charges and the modes of liability against Ongwen alongside the detailed elements of the charges with which Ongwen is charged.

This he says contravened Ongwen’s fair trial rights and invalidate the charges adding that they want Trial Chamber IX to rule on the defects as outlined in four different series of many pages, dismiss all the charges against Ongwen and order him released from the detention facility of the Court.

On Wednesday, Single Judge Bertram Schmitt of Trial Chamber IX issued a decision directing Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to file a consolidated 65-page response to the issues under contentions in the defects series motion of the defense.

Court rejected the request of the Prosecutor to have the motion dismissed, giving her office up to February 25th to file the consolidated response to the motion instead.

The ruling comes a day after Bensouda asked the Court to block the submission on the defects.

She said the motion by the defense is too time bad to be considered three years after the commencement of the full trial.

According to the Prosecutor, the defense application should be dismissed on grounds that Defense forfeited several opportunities of challenging the alleged defects before full trial of Dominic Ongwen commenced during the pre-trial stage.

The others she said are breaches in the Rules of Procedure of the Court limits such application to only 20 pages as opposed to the thick volume the defense used as well as failure to seek leave of court to raise such matters.

The 70 Charges and Six mode of liability Ongwen is battling before the International Criminal Court – ICC stem from attacks of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel in four camps for internally displaced persons in Pajule, Abok, Odek and Lukodi in Pader, Oyam and Gulu districts respectively. The crimes are alleged to have been committed between July 2002 and December 2005. He denied all the charges when he was charged before the International Criminal Court in 2016.

The trial is currently on a long adjournment requested by the defense to allow Dominic Ongwen undergo extensive medical examination.

It is the third time the defense of Dominic Ongwen is attempting to interrupt his trial citing no case to answer, duress and victim-perpetrator status of the accused.

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