ICTR upholds decision to transfer case of former pastor to Rwanda court

[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Friday rejected an appeal by former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [case materials], upholding a decision to transfer his case to the Republic of Rwanda to be tried in the Rwandan national court system. The ICTR ordered the transfer [JURIST report] in June under Rule 11 bis, which authorizes the transfer of cases to appropriate national jurisdictions. This marked the first time the ICTR had transferred a case to the Rwandan court system. As a precautionary measure, the Referral Chamber requested that the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) [official website] be appointed to oversee the trial [UN News Centre report] and present any issues to the ICTR President as they arise.

Uwinkindi pleaded not guilty [press release] in July 2010 to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Uwinkindi was indicted [indictment, PDF] by the ICTR in 2001 and has been charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. The indictment alleges that Uwinkindi collaborated with the extremist National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) party in order to kill Tutsis. He allegedly led a group of Hutus to look for and kill a group of Tutsi settlers and conspired with members of the militia to kill Tutsis who sought protection in the church where he was the pastor. According to the indictment, approximately 2,000 bodies were found near the church where the violence occurred. Uwinkindi had been one of the ICTR's most wanted suspects, with a $5 million reward being offered [BBC report] for information leading to his capture. He was apprehended [JURIST report] by Ugandan authorities and transferred to the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.

 

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