By Susan Kendi
How does a man with more than 30 wives talk about the relations of his spouses? He does not, a witness told the International criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday, November 1, 2017.
Witness P-0138 told the court that Lord’s Resistance Army commander Joseph Kony did not talk about his in-laws as he had more than 30 wives. Under cross-examination by lawyer, Krispus Ayena Odongo, who is representing former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, balked when questioned about whether or not Kony talked about his brother-in-law or any in-laws.
This is the second prosecution witness who has been questioned about Kony mentioning his in-laws. Witness P-0172, Ray Apire, testifying on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, told the three-judge bench that constitutes Trial Chamber IX, that he knew of Ongwen in 1992 during the Christmas season when everyone in the bush was called, gathered around and Kony referred to Ongwen as his brother-in-law. He added that at that time, Atom Lily, Ongwen’s sister, had been captured and she was sent to Kony during Christmas.
Here is an excerpt of the questioning of Witness P-0138 by lawyer Krispus Ayena Odongo.
Odongo: Do you know Lilly Atom?
Witness: No, I don’t.
Odongo: I would surprise you that Lilly Atom is Kony’s wife and a sister to Ongwen. Taking one’s gun, what would it mean?
Witness: When one is disarmed, it depends with infraction you have committed. It equates to demoting somebody.
Odongo: Could it also mean that you were suspected to have communication with the (UPDF) soldiers?
Witness: In my observation one is disarmed if they are thinking of escaping and the gun would be taken. On other occasions, if they (LRA) realize that you want to escape you are killed but those are some of the reasons I know why they disarm someone.
Odongo read out some names to the witness before the cross-examination continued
Witness: Acellam Pa, according to my knowledge, he was gifted in operating RPG. That was his best gun. His name means that he is equivalent to 10 other people. He could face 10 people as an individual. Ceaser Acellam was a colonel. He was part of the commanders in Control Altar.
Odongo: Sam Otto Kolo?
Witness: Otto Kolo was also a colonel. He was good at being a spokesman. People who heard BBC would hear him. He talked on radio when attacks happened. He was in Control Altar.
Odongo: Jimmy Ochile?
Witness: He was also a colonel and CPA. I do not know what the CPA means but he was part of the Control Altar.
Odongo: Mr Witness, according to your testimony, at that time Buk Abudema was Dominic Ongwen’s brigade commander?
Witness: Yes, he was.
Odongo: The people whose names I mentioned are the ones who constituted the attack in Pajule. They sound like seniors in the LRA.
Witness: Yes, they were high-ranking people in the LRA.
Odongo: The rest, who participated were selected and given orders to go perform a function not because they planned to do it?
Witness: Yes, that is what would happen within the LRA.
Odongo: Your Honours, that is end of the defence case.
Judge Bertram Schmitt: Mr Witness, we wish you a safe trip.
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