[JURIST] Rwandan justice officials Friday criticized a decision [text, PDF; official press release] by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] denying a motion to transfer an accused genocide leader to the Rwandan court system for trial. An ICTR panel in Tanzania Wednesday denied prosecutors' request to transfer former businessman Yussuf Munyakazi [case materials] to the Rwandan justice system, citing concerns that punishments imposed in place of the now-abolished death penalty might not conform with international human-rights standards and that the Rwandan judiciary might not be fully independent and immune from outside pressure. Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said he was disappointed and insisted that Rwanda's judicial system was fully independent and capable of guaranteeing a fair trial. Rwandan Justice Mminister Tharcisse Karugarama said that the country had been dealing with genocide issues since 1995 and that suggesting unfairness in the court system was itself unfair [BBC report]. The transfer motion was considered part of a strategy to remove some cases from the ICTR so that the court could finish all its trials by the deadline at the end of this year. Both parties have 15 days to appeal the decision. Reuters has more. From Rwanda, the New Times has local coverage.
Officials in Congo captured [press release] Munyakazi in 2004. He was charged [indictment text, PDF] with genocide or complicity in genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity for his suspected role in the killings of thousand of Tutsis during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder].