- January 17, 2017
This week the trial of former LRA commander Dominic Ongwen resumes at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The trial of Ongwen, a former child soldier now being charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, is being closely watched for its implications on transitional justice processes in Uganda and around the world. However, comparatively little attention has been focused on what implications Ongwen’s departure from the LRA has had on his former comrades still within the rebel group. Today, we attempt to address that question with the release of a new report, Dominic Ongwen’s Domino Effect, released in collaboration with our colleagues at Invisible Children.
The report chronicles in detail for the first time how the dramatic series of events surrounding Ongwen’s defection in late 2014 led to fracturing within the LRA command structure, including the creation of an LRA splinter group led by Achaye Doctor and an attempt by Kony’s bodyguards to take Kony’s life in mid-2015. It also examines how the fracturing of the LRA is linked to the sharp increase in LRA attacks in eastern CAR in 2016. Finally, the report examines how the LRA’s fracturing challenges the theory that killing or capturing Kony will lead to the swift dissolution of the rebel group, highlighting the need for expanded defection messaging and reintegration programs.