The trial of Dominic Ongwen continued on Tuesday, 12 September 2017, with the cross-examination of the 28th Prosecution witness, Witness P-0340.
This witness was given protective measures of face distortion as well as recourse to private session.
Legal assistance for the witness was provided by Ms. Mary Poku.
On this second day of his testimony, Witness P-0340 testified about his abduction, the structure of “Holy”, his presence in Sudan and the attacks on the Odek and Abok IDP camps.
Cross-examination of Witness P-0340
Led by Defence Counsel Krispus Ayena Odongo, the cross-examination of Witness P-0340 resumed with a line of questioning about the witness’ abduction and the existence of the “Holy”.
Witness P-0340 recounted that before his abduction, he was heard about the “Holy” by the elderly people in his village; even though he never saw that group directly.
Furthermore, when asked about the presence of Dominic Ongwen in the group that abducted him, the witness explained that the accused was not present in that group, but that he met him later on, when they were in the bush.
In addition, Witness P-0340 testified that the Sinia brigade would regularly split into several smaller groups.
“When the groups were gathered together they would stay in close proximity to each other”, the witness said.
He recalled that groups would be organized in so-called “outer circles” and “inner circles”, while the middle was referred to as “Headquarters”.
According to Witness P-0340, those in the “inner circles” were of a higher rank than those in the “outer circles”.
Also, the witness pointed out that when the groups were combined he was told that Dominic Ongwen was in charge of the Sinia brigade.
During the second session of the day, Defence Counsel Krispus Ayena Odongo questioned Witness P-0340 about his days in Sudan and the people he met there.
He answered that in Sudan his group was introduced to Joseph Kony and insisted that his group was not trained by the Arabs.
The witness emphasized that, instead, Arabs only provided the group with food and weapons.
Turning to the attack on Odek, he assured that he did not see any civilian casualties.
“It is by God’s grace that I’m alive. We removed things very fast, and you hurry and leave the place”, he explained.
Witness P-0340 further testified that he saw houses burning.
When interrogated about the cause of the fire, the witness said he saw the fire when the battle was taking place. “I know civilians cannot torch their own houses”, he added.
Lastly, in relation to the attack on the Abok IDP camp, Witness P-0340 stated he did not see Ongwen during that attack.
He also established that although he saw houses burning in Abok, he did not see anyone being killed there.
At the beginning of the third session, and before letting Witness P-45 into the Courtroom, the Chamber issued their decision on the requested assurances through which they granted face distortion and recourse to private session as protective measures in favour of Witness P-45.
According to Rule 74 Counsel, Mr. Marcus Wagemakers was assigned as assisting Counsel for the witness.
During this session, the examination-in-chief was conducted by OTP Trial Lawyer Kamran Choudhry, who questioned Witness P-45 about her abduction and membership to the LRA.
The witness recounted that she was abducted in 1990 together with her cousin, to whom she refers also to as “brother”.
The witness testified that her cousin was killed when he was trying to escape.
Witness P-45 explained that she did not try to escape after her abduction. “I feared that if I escaped I would be killed […] the LRA would kill people just as they killed that boy”, she stated.
Later, the witness was asked about the abduction of women by the LRA, to which she stated that most of the girls in the bush would become wives.
“You cannot refuse. If you refuse, that person can even beat you and, you know, it’s painful”, she added.
Lastly, Witness-P45 recounted her training when she was in Sudan, mentioning that she was given military training on how to dismantle guns and on how to defend herself against their enemies.
She established that she used some type of guns against Museveni’s soldiers.
The witness testified that after Sudan she returned to Uganda where she fought with the LRA.
The session concluded during private session.
The trial in the case of Dominic Ongwen resumes today Wednesday, 13 September 2017, with the continuation of the testimony of Witness P-45.