Ongwen case: Confirmation of charges hearing postponed till 21 January 2016

Today, 6 March 2015, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC), upon the Prosecutor’s request, postponed the commencement of the confirmation of charges hearing in respect of Dominic Ongwen to 21 January 2016 in order to allow the Prosecutor to prepare adequately for the hearing and to comply with the Chamber’s instructions.

The confirmation of charges hearing – a step to decide whether the suspect will be committed to a Trial Chamber for trial or not – was provisionally scheduled for 24 August 2015. The Prosecutor sought more time for several reasons, including her intentionto re-investigate and contact witnesses who had been interviewed a decade ago, and to investigate further with a view to enlarging possibly the factual scope of this case.

In setting the new date, the Chamber considered several factors, such as the need to (re-)investigate, disclose evidence to the Defence relevant to this case, seek protective measures, prepare an in-depth analysis chart, and ensure the translation of core pieces of evidence into Acholi, the language the suspect fully understands and speaks. The Chamber also took other factors into account, such as the fact that the Court will be moving to its new premises between 30 November and 11 December 2015.

Background: As the alleged Brigade Commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Dominic Ongwen is suspected of 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.

ICC Public Affairs Unit