17 mars 2022 - 11h45 à 12h30

Sentencing former Child Soldiers: Dominique Ongwen’s sentencing by the International Criminal Court

Conférence de Demetra Sorvatzioti
Jeudi 17 mars 2022 de 11h45 à 12h30 en ZOOM

Abstract of the conference

Dominique Ongwen was convicted by the International Criminal Court (2021) of a total of 61 crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court considered Ongwen’s “personal history” and called his life “misfortune at a young age”. Ongwen was around 9 years old when he was kidnapped. He grew up in the bush in a criminal environment with Zosepf Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). He became a senior military officer within the LRA. The issue here is not whether the Court sentenced Ongwen correctly to 25 years or not. The discussion is related to the evidence tools and method the Court used to understand and evaluate the “child soldier” situation. The sentencing decision does not explain clearly how Ongwen’s child soldier experience was transformed into a voluntary informed choice to be in the LRA. It is important to look into these questions to understand Ongwen’s moral blameworthiness for sentencing purposes.


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Demetra Fr. Sorvatzioti is an Associate Professor in the School of Law, University of Nicosia. She holds a Ph.D. in Criminology and has extensive trial experience both in continental and common law systems. She is a member of the Advisory Board of Fair Trials International, and a member of the Clooney Foundation for Justice TrialWatch Expert’s panel. Her primary research area is comparative criminal law, evidence and sentencing. Currently she is conducting research at Queen’s University, Faculty of Law in Canada.

Conférence intégrale


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