RISDEL KASASIRA, Associated Press
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda’s military said Tuesday the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel commander who surrendered to American troops last week will be taken to The Hague for trial.
Dominic Ongwen is now in U.S. custody in Obo, a town in eastern Central African Republic, the country where he surrendered on Jan. 6, Uganda army spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda said.
“Finally it has been decided. Domnic (sic) Ongwen will be tried at the ICC in the Hague,” Ankunda tweeted. The United Nations, African Union, Uganda and United States consulted on the decision to try him at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf confirmed that Ongwen would be delivered to the ICC. Harf said the U.S. would soon hand over Ongwen to a Ugandan continent of the African Union’s task force. He will then be transferred to The Hague.
Although Uganda wanted to try him itself, the U.S. has concerns about how Ongwen would be treated there and whether high standards of detention and prosecution would be upheld, other officials said on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing diplomacy.
Ugandan State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Asuman Kiyingi, had said on Monday that Uganda wanted to try him.
The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, began in Uganda in the 1980s as a tribal uprising.
Ongwen, Kony and three others who have reportedly since died were charged by the ICC. The court’s warrant of arrest for Ongwen lists seven counts of alleged individual criminal responsibility including crimes against humanity, enslavement, murder and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury.
Ongwen was initially turned over to the U.S. by people claiming to be members of the Muslim group Seleka, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said. He referred questions about a reward to the State Department.
Harf wouldn’t say if the U.S. has paid or would pay in future reward claims by some members of the Seleka militia.
Kony became internationally well-known in 2012 when a U.S.-based advocacy group produced a widely viewed video. Despite an intensified hunt, Kony is believed to be constantly on the move across Central Africa.
Associated Press reporter Bradley Klapper and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.
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