By Susan Kendi
A prosecution witness who recently took the stand to testify in the Dominic Ongwen case told Trial Chamber IX of the International Criminal Court that the Sudan government armed the Lord’s Resistance Army fighters while they were in Sudan.
Witness P-085, a former LRA fighter who was testifying with his face masked, voice distorted and having been provided with a lawyer to guide him, told the three-judge bench composed ofBertram Schmitt (presiding), Péter Kovács and Raul Cano Pangalangan that while in Uganda they seized weapons from government forces during battles but in Sudan, the government supplied them with arms.
This is just one of the witnesses who has testified about how the Khartoum government collaborated with the LRA. A majority of the witnesses that have testified at the ICC so far have talked about how the LRA lived in camps in the Sudan before Operation Iron Fist and were provided with weapons by the government and Arabs. The Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) launched Operation Iron FIst to root out Joseph Kony’s LRA by taking the war into Sudan.
Here is the excerpt of the courtroom exchange between Witness P-085 and Prosecutor Adesola Adeboyejo:
Witness: There was a time when someone tried to escape but did not succeed. Since it was a standing order he was recaptured and killed. Ochii used that instruction … I do not recall the year but I remember the person who gave the instruction.
Adeboyejo: Who was it?
Adeboyejo: Do you remember how Ochii carried out the instruction?
Witness: There is nothing else used for killing someone apart from logs and sticks.
Adeboyejo: I hope I can be permitted to refresh him. Do you know where exactly this incident took place, Mr Witness?
Witness: I did not see with my own eyes but I saw that stick after he finished killing that person.
Adeboyejo: What were you trained in?
Witness: How to shoot a gun, turn while in the battlefield, how to march. These were the kinds of trainings we were taken through.
Adeboyejo: Which weapons did you use to train?
Witness: AK47 and RPG.
Adeboyejo: Where did these weapons come from?
Witness: When the rebels fight with the government forces, that is when they get these weapons.
Adeboyejo: Who provided LRA with these weapons?
Witness: Before the LRA went to Sudan they would get [them] from the government forces during battle.
Adeboyejo: And after they went to Sudan?
Witness: When they went to Sudan they would receive weapons from the Sudan government.
Adeboyejo: After you received training, what unit were you assigned in?
Witness: When we were taken to Lamogi, we were taken to Control Alter then Sinia. So we were doing training when in Sinia.
Adeboyejo: Mr Witness, in what group were you relocated to after training?
Witness: After the training I continued being in Sinia… During the Iron Fist there were three brigades and the fourth is Trinkle.
Adeboyejo: You already told us there was Sinia; what were the other two?
Witness: Stockree and Gilva.
The prosecution completed questioning the witness and his cross-examination was scheduled for February 26, 2018.