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Nine organizations request to advise ICC on reparation of LRA victims

Dominic Ongwen during the delivery of the sentence before the International Criminal Court on 6 May. File Photo

Former commander of LRA’s Siniya brigade was convicted to 25 years in jail for committing 61 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Nine organizations have written to the International Criminal Court-ICC seeking permission to advise the court on the proper mode of paying reparations to the victims of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA war.

The organisations responded to the request by the Trial Chamber IX on May 6th, 2021, for proposals on the reparations of the victims shortly after sentencing Dominic Ongwen, the former commander of LRA’s Siniya brigade to 25 years in jail for committing 61 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern Uganda between July 1st 2002 and December 31st 2005.

Martin Okwir, the ICC Outreach Coordinator told URN in an interview that the chambers invited experts, victim’s organizations and Civil Society Organizations among others with deeper knowledge on the victims’ situations to write and request the court to permit them to offer advice and opinions on how best the reparations should be conducted. According to Okwir, by the expiry of the deadline for the submission on June 7th, ICC had received requests from nine organizations in Northern Uganda.

He however declined to reveal the names of the organizations. Okwir says the court will select the ones that meet all the requirements and ask them to submit their proposals by September 6th this year.

Okwir revealed that it is the recommendations and proposal from these organizations that will help inform the mode of reparations of the war victims.

Maria Kamara Mabinty, the ICC Outreach Coordinator for East Africa says that the information the judges would like to obtain is the approximate number of direct and indirect victims of the crimes for which Dominic Ongwen has been accused of, legal issues or particular facts that could serve for the identification of the victims, victim or groups of victims that may need to be prioritized and the type and extent of harm suffered by the victims for which Ongwen was convicted on February 4th.

He says that other types of reparations that would be adequate to address is the harm suffered and estimates as to the cost to repair the harm suffered by the victims among others. Dominic Ongwen’s lead lawyer, Crispus Odongo Ayena says that the reparation should not only be limited to few victims but it should cover the entire Northern region.

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