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Dominic Ongwen’s Status as Child Victim Factors into Punishment

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today imposed a 25-year-sentence on Dominic Ongwen, a former leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The sentence marks an important milestone in the search for justice for victims of the grave international…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
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Who is Dominic Ongwen? What is the Lord’s Resistance Army? How did the ICC come to bring charges against Ongwen? What are the charges against Ongwen? How does Ongwen’s experience as a child soldier affect judicial proceedings against…
Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, waits for the judge to arrive as he made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.
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Following months of protests, Sudan’s president for 30 years, Omar al-Bashir, was ousted in April 2019 and replaced by a transitional military council. Negotiations between the military leaders and opposition groups led in August to the formation of a…
Displaced people living in Ardamata camp in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, welcoming the start of proceedings in the case against “Janjaweed” militia leader Ali Kosheib at the International Criminal Court. Photos courtesy of Radio Dabanga www.dabangasudan.org. 
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Impunity Hampers Sustainable Peace

This week marks 20 years since the end of the Kosovo war. What began as systematic Serbian state oppression led to attacks by an ethnic Albanian armed group, a vicious government response, and 78 days of NATO airstrikes. …
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Nairobi Conference Commits to Greater Efforts to Fight Impunity, Defend Rights

Last week, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region met in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss “combating impunity and upholding human rights as key contributors to peace and security.” Representatives from the organization’s 12…
Jean Baptiste Nguondija, a resident of Ngbada, Central African Republic, by the grave of his 10 year-old daughter Nathana Poura. Nguondija has lost 5 children since the conflict began in 2013.
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Rights Champion Wrote Definitive Account of Rwandan Genocide

Ten years ago today, our beloved colleague Alison Des Forges died in the crash of Flight 3407 traveling from Newark to her home in Buffalo. Alison had recently been in Uganda to meet with her research team that, to my great fortune,…
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Court Should Emphasize Victims’ Views in Choice of Counsel

Testimony before the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed this month in the case against Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The ICC has officially recognized over 4,000 victims to…
A community member in Lukodi stands next to a memorial of a May 19, 2004 massacre, one of the atrocities for which Dominic Ongwen is facing charges before the International Criminal Court. Over 4,000 victims are participating in the trial.
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Opposition to Withdrawal by States

The African Union made headlines Tuesday for purportedly agreeing to mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court. The reality is more complex. The decision by AU member states welcomes the announced withdrawals by South Africa,…
A general view shows the headquarters of the African Union (AU) building in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 29, 2017.
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Countries Commit to Working Within the ICC System

A slew of African countries reaffirmed their backing for the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the past two days, giving much-needed support to the court in the wake of recently announced withdrawals by South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia.  …
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Attacks on Education Persist

October 9, 2016 marks 20 years since the Lord’s Resistance Army abducted 139 school girls from St. Mary’s College in Aboke, Northern Uganda. The rebels raided the Catholic girls’ boarding school, ransacking the school clinic, attempted to burn down some…
Former abducted Ugandan girls from St. Mary's College in Aboke who returned from captivity by Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels walk with lit candles during a ceremony October 10, 2005 to commemorate the abduction day.
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It was just a bolt of pink cotton lying on the floor of a school gym but more than 20 years later, it haunts me still – soldiers tore off strips of that cloth, blindfolded dozens of men, trucked them to a nearby field, shot them, and buried all but a…
Two Bosnian Muslim women cry over a coffin July 10, 2005 with remains of their relative in a factory hall in Potocari where 610 victims of Srebrenica massacre wait for the funeral.
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As the African Union summit closed on January 31, 2016, Kenyan media ignited with reports that the African Union endorsed mass withdrawal of African countries from the International Criminal Court. But the reality is a lot less newsworthy than the main…
A general view shows delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016.
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Questions and Answers

When the International Criminal Court’s member countries gathered in November 2015 for their annual meeting, both Kenya and South Africa raised issues about developments at the ICC over the previous year that affected their countries. Kenya…
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China plans to welcome dozens of international leaders on September 3 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Among them is expected to be President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, who should be in The Hague facing justice, not an honored…
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As images of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s plane taking off from Pretoria in defiance of a court order beamed across the world, many South Africans wondered not only why the South African government was so eager to let an alleged war criminal escape…
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So far, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has avoided arrest for alleged international crimes – including genocide – committed in Darfur. But his world has certainly gotten smaller. On Monday, al-Bashir planned to visit Indonesia to attend the 60th…
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Almost 20 years after Bosnian Serb forces slaughtered more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) upheld the convictions of five men for genocide for what is considered the worst…
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1.     Who is Joseph Kony and what is the Lord’s Resistance Army? 2.    What is the LRA fighting for? 3.    How big is the LRA? 4.    Does the LRA target children? 5.    How many people have been affected by the long war with the LRA? 6.    Where is Kony…