Lawyer Krispus Ayena Odongo has withdrawn from representing Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
On June 1, 2022, Ayena requested the Appeals Chamber to grant him leave to withdraw as Counsel for Ongwen in the proceedings before the Trial Chamber IX.
The former Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander reportedly parted ways with his lead defence counsel due to a communication breakdown.
“Krispus Ayena Odongo’s request for leave to withdraw as counsel for Ongwen in the above-mentioned appeal is granted,” ruled Justice Liz Del Carmen Ibanez Carranza on June 7.
“The Registry is directed to take all necessary steps to facilitate the prompt appointment.”
Ongwen, who is serving a 25-year-jail term in the Hague for committing atrocities in northern Uganda under Joseph Kony, has hired another defence lawyer of Cameroonian origin, Charles Achalette Taku.
On May 6, 2021, the Trial Chamber sentenced Ongwen to 25 years imprisonment for crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is appealing this sentence.
On June 1, Taku filed a notification before the Appeals Chamber saying Ongwen had agreed to appoint him as his new lead defence counsel to replace Ayena for the remaining appeal proceedings.
Taku stated that communication between Ayena and Ongwen ‘has completely broken down’ and further submitted that the composition of the legal team representing Ongwen will not change and that given the team’s familiarity with the case, the change of counsel will not disrupt or occasion any delays in the present proceedings.