Child Soldier to Warlord Overnight: Sentencing Ongwen in the International Criminal Court - Asia Pacific Journal of International Humanitarian Law

by Rebecca Lloyd

In December 2022, the International Criminal Court (ICC) delivered its appeal decision in in the case of Dominic Ongwen, a child solider-turned-commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda, who had been convicted and sentenced of numerous war crimes in 2021. The case has reopened the debate about how international courts should deal with child soldiers-turned-perpetrators, or CSTPs, in sentencing. It is contended that the ICC eschewed a protectionist approach towards CSTPs. That approach is contrasted with the rights-based approach enshrined in the United Nations 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the author’s view, the majority of the ICC’s reasoning did not reflect Ongwen’s complex individual circumstances. It is advocated that further attention should be given to sentencing CSTPs in the future.

Keywords: Ongwen, International Criminal Law, International Criminal Court, Child Soldier, Sentencing, Appeals Chamber

Pin It on Pinterest