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Rwanda genocide tribunal transfers first defendant to national courts

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Thursday confirmed [press release] and proceeded with the transfer of former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [Hague Justice profile; case materials] to Rwanda. Uwinkindi is the first ICTR genocide suspect to be transferred to a national court [AP report]. The Appeals Chamber of the ICTR dismissed a motion filed by Uwinkindi for a stay of his transfer to Rwanda. He argued there is serious doubt that High Court of Rwanda will provide him a fair trial, citing the trial [JURIST report] of Victoire Ingabire [official website] as demonstrating that the defendant's right to fair trial was disregarded. The Chamber denied this allegation because, as opposed to other trials before the national court, Uwinkindi's trial will be monitored by the ICTR with additional protections and guarantees under Rwandan laws applicable to cases transferred from the ICTR. Thus, the Chamber concluded that there is no basis to stay the transfer. Uwinkindi was flown to Kigali Thursday evening.

Uwinkindi's case is the first of three that have been considered for transfer to Rwanda. The other two are against Fulgence Kayishema [case materials; JURIST report], a former police inspector, and Charles Sikubwabo [case materials], former Bourgmestre of Gishyita, Kibuye Prefecture. Uwinkindi was charged in 2001 with genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In December, the ICTR upheld the decision to transfer [JURIST report] the case to a Rwandan court. The ICTR initially ordered the transfer [JURIST report] in June under Rule 11 bis, which authorizes the transfer of cases to appropriate national jurisdictions. Uwinkindi pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in 2010.

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