FJDI’s access to justice program aims at helping communities to participate in ongoing justice proceedings by providing periodic updates and information relating to trials. In northern Uganda, the trials of Dominic Ongwen before the ICC in The Hague, and that of Thomas Kwoyelo before the ICD in Uganda dominated FJDI’s access to justice programming during the year.
Under its Access to Justice Programme, FJDI in partnership with other stakeholders monitored the trials of former LRA commanders Dominic Ongwen and Thomas Kwoyelo. The trials are occurring simultaneously before the ICC in The Hague, and the ICD in Uganda. Ongwen is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the former IDP camps of Lukodi, Pajule, Odek, and Abok in northern Uganda. His trial at the ICC, which began in 2016, is now in advanced stages, with closing arguments scheduled for this March. Kwoyelo is facing 93 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed between January 1995 and December 2005 in northern Uganda. The main phase of his trial started on September 24, 2018.
FJDI monitored both Ongwen and Kowyelo’s trials in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and the ICC, Avocats Sans Frontieres (ASF) and other stakeholders. Monitoring activities included gauging public opinion in northern Uganda and writing corresponding blog articles which were published on the International Justice Monitor (IJM) Website, attending trial sessions – especially in Uganda, and participation in community outreaches.