KAMPALA, Uganda – Uganda's military said Tuesday the Lord's Resistance Army rebel commander who surrendered to American troops last week will be taken to The Hague for trial.
Dominic Ongwen is now in U.S. custody in Obo, a town in eastern Central African Republic, the country where he surrendered on Jan. 6, said Uganda's army spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda.
"Finally it has been decided. Domnic Ongwen will be tried at the ICC in the Hague," Ankunda tweeted. The United Nations, African Union, Uganda and United States consulted on the decision to try him at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
A U.S. official said Ongwen is expected to be out of U.S. custody within the next 24 hours. He will be transferred to Ugandan officials, who are then expected to turn him over to the ICC. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Although Uganda wanted to try him itself, the U.S. has concerns about how Ongwen would be treated there and whether high standards of detention and prosecution would be upheld, other officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the ongoing diplomacy.
Ugandan State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Asuman Kiyingi, had said on Monday that Uganda wanted to try him.
The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, began in Uganda in the 1980s as a tribal uprising.
Ongwen, Kony and three others who have reportedly since died were charged by the ICC. The ICC warrant of arrest for Ongwen lists seven counts of alleged individual criminal responsibility including crimes against humanity, enslavement, murder and inhumane acts of inflicting serious bodily injury.
Col. Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman, said Ongwen was initially turned over to the U.S. by people claiming to be members of the Muslim group Seleka. He referred questions about the reward to the State Department.
Kony became internationally well-known in 2012 when a U.S.-based advocacy group produced a widely viewed video. Despite an intensified hunt, Kony is believed to be constantly on the move across Central Africa.