ICC launches free SMS-based interactive platform in Uganda over Ong’wen case


The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an interactive free SMS platform in Uganda to offer a platform for victims of war crimes in the case against Dominic Ongwen, and the general public in Uganda to be able to contribute and follow the proceedings of the trial.

“The mobile technology and SMS platform enhances and complements the work of the multidisciplinary Registry’s team in the country having the potential to reach a wide population with adequate and timely information. An open dialogue and deep understanding of the judicial developments before the ICC are key to ensure effectiveness of the victims’ rights and of the ICC proceedings,” said Mr Herman Von Hebel, the Registrar of the Court.

This SMS platform developed in cooperation with the Canadian NGO “Peace Geeks” is expected to widen the dialogue between Ugandans and the representatives of the ICC who started the outreach initiatives in 2006.

The platform will enable its subscribers to receive and respond in three languages, Acholi, Ateso and English, at no cost.

Dominic Ongwen, once a feared commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has so far denied all charged leveled against him at the Hague-based court.

He appeared last month before the court to plead not guilty, saying that as a child soldier taken by force from his home by the organization, he was a victim of its atrocities, not a perpetrator.

Ongwen, who is 41, was abducted by the LRA at the age of 10. He is the first former child soldier to face trial at the institution and the first defendant to be both alleged perpetrator and victim of the same crimes.