The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) transferred prosecution materials [press release] to the Rwandan government [official websites] on Monday for the first time with respect to a case stemming from the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The transfer was announced at a press conference by the ICTR's prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow and Rwanda's Prosecutor-General Martin Ngoga [official profiles]. The decision to transfer the prosecution materials demonstrates the ICTR's recognition of Rwanda's capability to provide genocide defendants a fair and effective justice system, according to Ngoga. Jallow also commented on behalf of the ICTR:
The referral reflects our acknowledgement of the important advancements Rwanda has made in terms of law reform and capacity building within the justice system. With the assistance of donors, as well as the ICTR, these measures ensure that the legal system is consistent with international standards. With this renewed confidence in the capacity and robustness of Rwandan justice, we will encourage more cases to bereferred by the ICTR to Rwanda for trial.One of the measures taken by the Rwandan government to comply with ICTR's international standard of a fair and effective justice system was the abolition of death penalty [JURIST report] in 2007. The ICTR had refused to deliver suspects of the 1994 genocide to the country while its death penalty was in effect.
The case involves the prosecution of the former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [Hague Justice profile; case materials]. Six months after he was transferred to Rwanda [JURIST report] to be tried before its national court system under Rule 11 bis authorizing the transfer of cases to appropriate national jurisdictions, the ICTR last month rejected Uwinkindi's appeal [JURIST report] upholding the decision of transfer. Uwinkindi was indicted [indictment, PDF] in 2001 and has been accused of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He was arrested in July 2010 by Ugandan authorities and pleaded not guilty [JURIST reports].