Transfer of Dominic Ongwen to the International Criminal Court

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 20, 2015

The United States welcomes the transfer of Dominic Ongwen by Central African authorities to the International Criminal Court (ICC) today. This transfer took place as a result of close cooperation and consultation by the governments of the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) and Uganda, the African Union Regional Task Force (AU-RTF), and the ICC.

Ongwen’s transfer to the ICC is a welcome step toward justice for the victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). After he was abducted by the LRA as a child, Ongwen allegedly went on to commit and direct brutal crimes over many years as one of the group’s senior commanders, including attacks on displaced civilians in northern Uganda, for which he faces ICC charges, and the massacre of more than 300 civilians in Makombo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, by elements reportedly under his command.

We commend the efforts of all those involved in Ongwen’s transfer, including the AU-RTF for its significant efforts to counter the LRA that laid the groundwork for Ongwen’s removal from the battlefield; President Museveni and the Government of Uganda for their sustained leadership over the years in the regional efforts to end the threat from the LRA; and the C.A.R.’s Transitional President, Catherine Samba-Panza, whose actions have exemplified her deep commitment to ending impunity in C.A.R. and ensuring that the perpetrators of atrocities are held accountable.

We thank those individuals in C.A.R. whose actions made it possible for Ongwen to face justice, and we call on all citizens of LRA-affected areas to continue their efforts to support the forces combatting the LRA in the region.

Today’s developments give hope – to the survivors, to the four countries affected by the LRA, and to their partners around the world – that the nightmare of the LRA can be brought to an end. We call on the remaining LRA members to follow the lead of the more than 250 individuals who have left the LRA since 2012 to put down their arms and return home.