The judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday sentenced Dominic Ongwen, a former commander of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), to 25 years of imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The decision by the trial chamber of the Hague-based ICC followed a judgment at the beginning of February, in which Ongwen was found guilty for a total of 61 crimes comprising crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the long-lasting civil war in Uganda.

The crimes are related to attacks against the civilian population in the northern part of the country between July 1, 2002 and December 31, 2005.

Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt on Thursday called Ongwen “a perpetrator who willfully and lucidly brought tremendous suffering upon his victims,” but also stated that Ongwen, who had been a child soldier, “had previously endured extreme suffering himself at the hands of the group of which he later became a prominent member and leader.” Ongwen was arrested in the Central African Republic in January 2015 and transferred to the ICC’s custody later that month.

The Court had issued an arrest warrant against Ongwen already in July 2005. The period of his detention between January 4, 2015 and May 6, 2021, will be deducted from the total time of imprisonment imposed on him. The sentence may be appealed before the ICC appeals chamber by either party to the proceedings.

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