The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an interactive free SMS platform designed to create awareness and engage local communities in the ongoing Dominic Ongwen case in The Hague.
The platform will enable subscribers to receive and respond in three languages, Acholi, Ateso and English to regular public information at no cost.
The SMS platform launched April 3 2017, will give victims, the communities affected by the crimes alleged in the case of Ongwen, and the general population of Uganda, the opportunity to follow the proceedings before the Court.
The introduction in Uganda of this platform developed in cooperation with the Canadian NGO “Peace Geeks” deepens the dialogue between Ugandan population and the representatives of the ICC who started the outreach initiatives since 2006.
“The mobile technology and SMS platform enhances and complements the work of the multidisciplinary Registry’s team in the country having the potential to reach a wide population with adequate and timely information. An open dialogue and deep understanding of the judicial developments before the ICC are key to ensure effectiveness of the victims’ rights and of the ICC proceedings,” said Herman Von Hebel, the Registrar of the Court.
As an international rather than national or local court, the ICC is not on the doorstep of those most affected by the cases it hears, a statement from The Hague said.
The statement added that, “the Court therefore strives to bridge the distance between the Court and these communities and to make its proceedings accessible to them. In addition to communities affected by alleged crimes, the Court engages with local media as well as legal and academic communities”
The Court also works with local intermediaries, particularly civil society groups such as NGOs, who support its activities in the field and strengthen the Court’s capacity to engage with communities affected by crimes.
Ongwen who was abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as a child ,faces 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity which he denied while appearing before the same court in December. He makes history as the first child soldier and member of the LRA to be tried by judges at the court.