International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday sentenced infamous Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) commander Dominic Ongwen to 25 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ongwen, a former Ugandan child soldier who rose to become the LRA boss, was in February found guilty of 61 charges, which included murder, rape and sexual enslavement.
The notorious warlord alias White Ant oversaw a reign of terror by LRA in the early 2000s during vicious operations led by Ugandan fugitive Joseph Kony.
ICC prosecutors had proposed that he serves 20 years in gaol instead of the maximum 30-year imprisonment allowed by the international court based at the Hague in Netherlands.
However, the defence had proposed Ongwen serves 10 years for merciless attacks by his LRA rebels targeting refugee camps in Northern Uganda but the court settled on 25 years.
On the other hand, victims of his atrocities perpetrated through his LRA outfit had asked the Hague-based court to impose on him a full life sentence for his crimes.
During his trial, the court was shocked when he said he was forced by LRA to eat beans soaked in the blood of his first victims as an initiation after he was abducted at the age of 9.
He said, “I’m before this international court with so many charges, and yet I am the first victim of child abduction. What happened to me, I do not even believe happened to Jesus Christ."
LRA was set up by former Catholic altar boy Joseph Kony, a self-styled prophet about 30 years ago before he led a vicious revolt against President Yoweri Museveni in northern Uganda.
Joseph Kony. PHOTO/COURTESY
Kony had intended to rule Uganda using the 10 Commandments in the Bible, once he toppled Museveni but failed in his bid.
His bloody campaign left more than 100,000 people dead and 60,000 children were kidnapped as LRA spread its tentacles to Sudan, DR Congo and the Central African Republic.
He capitulated to US special forces hunting down Kony in CAR in 2015 before being moved to the Hague for trial.
Ongwen was the first person to be convicted by the Hague court of the crime of forced pregnancy and for kidnapping and raping women, including underage girls during his reign.