The president of the International Criminal Court, Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, today met victims of the LRA conflict at Lukodi trading centre in Gulu district. Lukodi is the site of the May 19th, 2004 LRA massacre in which the rebels attacked a camp for internally displaced people and killed at least 56 of them.
The president of the court, Judge Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, said this today while meeting victims of the conflict at Lukodi trading centre in Gulu district. Lukodi is the site of the May 19th, 2004 LRA massacre in which the rebels attacked a camp for internally displaced people and killed at least 56 of them.
"Violence is unacceptable and those who commit acts of violence must be prosecuted. This is why the ICC was created to try perpetrators of serious crimes of war, genocide and crimes against humanity," she stated.
Her visit to Lukodi coincides with the resumption of the trial of Dominic Ongwen today after two weeks of break. Lukodi is one of the four case locations where Ongwen, the alleged commander of the Sinia Brigade is accused of masterminding atrocities against civilians.
Survivors of the conflict expressed fear that breaks and too many processes will unnecessarily delay the trial of Dominic Ongwen.
Judge Fernandez concurred with the victims saying "the trial is likely to take long because all sides must be heard and heard fairly".
She noted that prosecution has lined up many witnesses who must first testify against Dominic Ongwen before the defence is given chance to call its own witnesses.
According to Judge Fernandez, the victims of the conflict should not give up on justice since it also took a long time for Ongwen to be surrendered to the Court.
"The trial will be done expeditiously so that justice is accorded to the victims who have already waited for a long time," she stressed.
Gibson Okullu, a member of Lukodi Massacre Survivors and Victims Association said "delaying the trial will be the greatest injustice served to the victims of the massacre and the war".
He said all they have left after the May 19th, 2004 attack are orphans, widows, widowers and trauma and delaying the trial will continue traumatising them further.
The victims also urged the ICC to support them through vocational skills training for their children to attend schools.
The ICC president started her Uganda visit on February 23 to acquaint herself with activities of the Court's Trust Fund for Victims. She is being accompanied by members of the board of the Fund amongst others.
Before visiting Lukodi, Judge Silvia Fernandez visited Awach Sub County in Aswa County where the fund is financing physical rehabilitation, psycho-social counselling and livelihood support of more than 1,400 victims.