Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Commander Dominic Ongwen has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ongwen faced 70 charges linked to a reign of terror in the early 2000s by the LRA, whose fugitive chief Joseph Kony waged a bloody campaign to set up a state based on the Bible’s Ten Commandments.
He was convicted in February of 61 crimes including rape, sexual enslavement, child abductions, torture and murder.
Ongwen could have received a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in prison. Prosecutors asked for a 20-year prison term. They argued that Ongwen’s own history of being abducted by the LRA as a schoolboy justified a lower sentence.
The court agreed that Ongwen’s kidnapping and circumstances are compelling but felt they could not be disregarded.
“The chamber is confronted in the present case with a unique situation. It is confronted with a perpetrator who willfully brought tremendous suffering upon his victims,” Presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said.
“However, it is also confronted with a perpetrator who himself had previously endured extreme suffering himself at the hands of the group of which he later became a prominent member and leader.”
Omgwen’s victims asked the court to give him the full 30 years to life sentence.