Case: The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen
Today, 28 October 2015, the Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided that the confirmation of charges hearing in the case concerning Dominic Ongwen, scheduled for 21 January 2016, shall be held at the seat of the Court at The Hague (Netherlands).
On 10 September 2015, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber II had recommended to the ICC Presidency that that holding the confirmation of charges hearing in Uganda would be desirable and in the interests of justice. Following consultations with the Ugandan authorities, the ICC Presidency received an updated assessment from the Court’s Registry on the feasibility of holding the confirmation of charges hearing in Uganda.
The ICC Presidency noted the excellent co‑operation of Uganda in assisting the Registry with the preparation of its preliminary and final assessments. The Presidency noted also that there would be a number of benefits to holding the hearing in Uganda as in principle this would contribute to a better perception of the Court and bring the proceedings closer to the communities affected by the alleged crimes. However, the Presidency noted particularly the possibility, expressed by Uganda itself, that political tensions may increase during an upcoming electoral period, especially during January 2016, which may have an adverse impact on the Court. The Presidency also noted operational limitations, in particular concerns that holding proceedings in Uganda would significantly impact the Court’s resources during its move to its permanent premises scheduled for December 2015. For these reasons, the ICC Presidency found that the potential benefits of holding the confirmation hearing in Uganda in January 2016 are outweighed by the significant risks
The confirmation of charges hearing in respect of Dominic Ongwen is scheduled to commence on 21 January 2016 and is expected to last three to no more than five working days. The confirmation of charges hearing is not a trial. It is a Pre-Trial hearing held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to commit the case for trial before a Trial Chamber.
Background: Dominic Ongwen was the alleged Brigade Commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). On 8 July 2005, ICC Judges issued an arrest warrant against Mr Ongwen for 3 counts of crimes against humanity (murder; enslavement; inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury and suffering) and 4 counts of war crimes (murder; cruel treatment of civilians; intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population; pillaging) allegedly committed on or about 20 May 2004 at the Lukodi IDP Camp in the Gulu District. On 16 January 2015, Dominic Ongwen was surrendered to the ICC’s custody and transferred to the ICC Detention Centre on 21 January 2015. His initial appearance before the Court took place on 26 January 2015.
Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, August 21st 2015: WildlifeDirect has today expressed its deep disappointment at the release of suspected ivory Kingpin Feisal Mohamed Ali. He and five others are charged with trafficking 2 tons of ivory that was seized in Mombasa on the 5th of June 2014. He had escaped to Tanzania where he remained a fugitive for 7 months before arrest, following a red notice issued by Interpol. The ruling by court magistrate Honourable Davis Karani allows him to leave Shimo la Tewa prison where he has been held since 23rd of December 2014. The terms for his release are that he pays a bond of Kshs. 10 Million (USD 100,000) and a surety of the same amount.
The decision today by the lower magistrates court contradicts a decision on 7th July just a month ago by the High Court of Kenya in Mombasa which emphasized that he (Feisal Mohamed Ali) was a flight risk. Honourable Karani today said he sees no reason why Feisal should remain in custody.
The trial which commenced four days ago (17th August 2015) follows a protracted inquiry into the disappearance of evidence in the case; 9 motor vehicles which are suspected to have been used in the crime that were under police protection. The prosecution revealed that they intend to call witnesses who are under state witness protection program.
This trial is a major test case of the newly created Wildlife Prosecution Unit under the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the only unit of its kind in Eastern and Central Africa that was formed as a result of the rising cases of major transnational wildlife crime.
WildlifeDirect Chairman Philip Murgor expressed his disappointment
‘’This is the most unaccepted and unfortunate decision that a lower court can overturn the decision of the High Court. It undermines all the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as Interpol to bring the fugitive to face justice in Kenya’’
Mr. Murgor is the former head of Public Prosecutions.
Today the prosecution asked the trial magistrate Honourable Karani to recuse himself from the case but the magistrate declined.
As Kenyans reacted to the shocking news, the ODPP kept concerned citizens updated with tweets:
“we at ODPP are all shocked & disappointed by the outcome @ODPP_KE @paulakahumbu”
“JUST IN ;Magistrate refuse to stay release order &defers ruling on his disqualification until Hct decide on bail !”
And “the team in Mombasa have been in the trenches on a daily basis over this matter & they extremely disappointed
The ODPP through Assistant Director of Prosecutions Mr.Muteti has indicated that he is filing an urgent application at the high court to overturn the bond ruling and apply for the magistrate to be recused from the case.
WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan NGO and US registered 501(c) (3) organization. Hands Off Our Elephants, the flagship campaign of WildlifeDirect and it is patroned by Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First lady of Kenya. The organization has been at the forefront of driving legal reforms in Kenya and East Africa. The CEO of WildlifeDirect is Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Elizabeth Gitari is the Legal Affairs Manager.
For more information, Please contact Elizabeth Gitari at firstname.lastname@example.org +254 723 419 706
Today I will release a draft of a law called: ‘the Prohibition of Promotion of Unnatural Sexual Practices Bill 2014’. This draft was 29th October. It must be seen as a continuation of the 2009 “Anti-Gay bill” that became Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2014. Not that I have cared much about it, because I see the bigger picture. By all means no prosecution of any person is right or deemed fair, unless your proven guilty by rule of law. This law in the end didn’t get passed because of the Criminal Court of Uganda ruled the law invalid. Even though this happen. Still a few donor countries have sent fewer aid-dollars to government of Uganda. This is the governments of Norway, Netherlands and United Kingdom.
I haven’t been vocal about that law like all the rest of the western hemisphere. For the simple reason: I don’t see the big fuzz about it. Not that I accept the principal or the matter at hand. I see a whole lot of other different other causes I will run into the storm for when it comes to Uganda. Before the cause of the gays and its importance in the discussion of making a better country, I’ll run many other marathons. Let me explain. I scream and fight for the lost causes and redeem souls. In that sense when it comes to first fights in development. I’ll stay the course for the 99% first then the 1%. I am not saying that the gays and the other part of LGBT don’t need safety. But doesn’t the teacher deserve a secure pay? The other part of government and civil service secure a decent salary?
I will beat the drums to secure the righteous course of any citizen and on general basis, before any minority group. When you have society which is fabricated for one leading regime and its clients, then I got to stand up for anybody who wishes to succeed it and make a difference first. For the simple and expensive political freedom, liberty to really speak its mind, but also too make a honest living. Live in the hut, cottage, studio, the flat and make that your own castle; Because your free there. Not that the freedom to pick who love isn’t important. But when a great part of the country isn’t eating, elections are getting rigged; the defense force is used to persecute its own citizen, and those who can’t eat. Has to fight for the country in South Sudan, DRC, C.A.R. or Somalia. This money will be spent by the elite and not the soldiers risking themselves in the field either in an African Union operation or any other peacekeeping business. No, this money goes to the regime and gets pocketed. The honor of those men isn’t kept. The liberty and freedom and opportunities aren’t well shared. Where men of the UPC, DP and FDC can be taken by police and sent to Luzira. I am sure that the government’s spending money for development, but by far, many isn’t seeing that. But they complain about a gay law like lions on the savannah.
So when I am dropping the draft today. I do it because it was delivered to me. I see it as a important thing to spread. Though I will always blast the graft, the corruption and the political insufficiency first, then I will address the other matters. Because when it comes to define ethics and also moral standards that are big question. Which can’t be addressed simply, so when the matters at hand and this draft which is a continuation of the “Anti-Gay bill”. Therefore I do this because of the necessity thought it’s only for the 1%. First and formost I’ll step up for the 99%. So while I am dropping this draft I am adressing two different tales that wont get into international press at all.
First I will usually address the matters of Sam Mugumya the aide of Dr. Kizza Besigye who is wished to be taken for custody by the Uganda Police Force for the moment he is rumored to be in secure location in Kinshasa, DRC. Second is how certain journalist can be taken by the police without any trial Jonathan Akweteireho and the citizen Kanti Rogers in Masindi. They have been there for three days without any court trial or prosecution. So I would go for this kind of causes because of the neglect on the mayor media houses to address it. So somebody has to.
Well here is the draft and if you despise my reasoning, be my guest. Answer me and tell me off. But if you can’t see it… then you are just seeing a slim picture that isn’t a whole tale and in living color. That’s you… and if that hurts you. I’m sorry. Peace.
Here is the draft: