TrustAfrica’s grantee, Victor Ochen, who directs the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) in Uganda, was invited by the International Criminal Court to attend the pre-trial hearing of its case against former Lord Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen in the Hague.
The New York Times (in an AP story on 26 Jan 2015) reported that:
Victor Ochen, director of a group called the African Youth Initiative Network, was in the court’s public gallery to watch Ongwen’s appearance and said his status as a former child soldier should not overshadow Ongwen’s acts as a senior commander in a group notorious for sexual enslavement, mutilations and kidnapping tens of thousands of victims.
Ochen said his brother Geoffrey was abducted by Ongwen’s forces in 2003 and he has not been heard from since. Ochen said Ongwen’s forces were responsible for abducting at least 10,000 people and he had many chances during his time with Kony’s forces to turn himself in.
“Ongwen’s time for amnesty is long gone,” he said, adding that prisoners who managed to flee, “came back with testimonies … about how brutal Ongwen was to other children who tried to escape.”
He added: “I am happy that, finally, justice is being done.”
The Globe and Mail (26 Jan 2015) reported that Mr. Ochen said that seeing Mr. Ongwen in The Hague, “sent the important message “that the perpetrators are not to going to continue their atrocities at will.”
TrustAfrica’s ICJ Fund partnered with AYINET in 2013 to host the first ever National War Victim’s conference in Uganda, and we continue to support them on their work on assisting victims of Uganda’s long conflict.