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    ICC Orders Shs 200bn Compensation to LRA victims

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    The International Criminal Court (ICC) ordered a total of €52 million (about Shs 221 billion) compensation towards the thousands of victims of former Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) rebel commander Dominic Ongwen.

    In an amended decision made on Wednesday, the judges at the Trial Chamber IX noted that the reparation will be made collectively to the victims given the magnitude of the atrocities and the number of victims.

    The judges noted that an estimated 49,772 direct and indirect victims of Ongwen’s atrocities will benefit from the reparation order.

    Ongwen was convicted by the ICC to a 25-year jail term in 2021 for a total of 61 crimes comprising crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed in Northern Uganda between July 1, 2002, and December 31, 2005. He is currently serving his jail term in Norway where he was transferred in December last year.

    The judges however in the reparation decisions noted that Ongwen is not in a position to pay the victims and asked the Trust Fund for Victims to foot the compensation cost.

    The ICC registry has since been ordered to start the identification and registration of the victims for reparation in Northern Uganda within 30 days of the reparations decision.

    The judges also rallied the ICC member state countries and well-wishers to financially support the Trust Fund for Victims which is currently cash-strapped.

    Ongwen is the first senior LRA commander among the five indicted by the ICC in 2005 to have been captured, tried, and sentenced to jail over war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Northern Uganda. LRA leader Joseph Kony remains in hiding.

    ICC prosecutor Karim Khan last year however asked judges for authorization to hold a hearing to confirm the charges against Kony in his absence. Kony is suspected of allegedly committing 36 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity between 2002 and 2005 in northern Uganda.

    The ICC has however terminated proceedings against Raska Lukwiya, Okot Odhiambo, and Vincent Otti who were involved in the arrest warrants.

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