Chapter 17: Dominic Ongwen on trial: problematizing definitional boundaries and exploring the possibilities of socialization
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This chapter explores the case of Dominic Ongwen, the first individual ever to be tried by an international tribunal for charges of which he himself was a victim. It does so in order to pose broader questions about the complexities of victimhood and culpability, particularly in the context of formerly conscripted child soldiers. The chapter first interrogates the categorical constructs of age delimiters and victim-perpetrators; it then places these into the trial setting through a specific analysis of how these constructs are operationalized by the International Criminal Court. After a brief discussion of some of the defences being raised in the case, the chapter concludes by arguing that the incorporation of a sociological framework offers a more fruitful and robust understanding of the potential impacts of Ongwen’s experiences within the LRA.

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