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ICC convicts LRA chief

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) found Dominic Ongwen, 45, guilty of charges relating to crimes including murder, rape, torture and sexual slavery carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the early 2000s.

“His guilt has been established beyond any reasonable doubt,” presiding Judge Bertram Schmitt said as he read out the verdict.

He could now be imprisoned for life, though judges will address sentencing at a later date. His lawyers had asked for an acquittal.

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The case is the first at the tribunal in The Hague to involve an alleged perpetrator and victim of the same war crimes, with Ongwen himself having been abducted by the LRA as a child.

Under the leadership of fugitive rebel Joseph Kony, the LRA terrorised Ugandans for nearly two decades as it battled the government of president Yoweri Museveni from bases in the north of the country and in what is now South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

In 2004, the Ugandan government referred the conflict with the LRA to the ICC, the world’s first permanent tribunal for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

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The United Nations says the LRA killed more than 100,000 people and abducted 60,000 children during its campaign of violence, which ended in 2005 when military pressure forced the armed group out of Uganda and its members scattered across parts of central Africa.—Al Jazeera

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