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UN tribunal dismisses genocide suspect’s bid to have transfer to Rwanda stayed

19 April 2012 – The appeals chamber of the United Nations tribunal trying key suspects implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today dismissed a motion filed by an indicted suspect in which he requested a stay of his transfer to the Rwandan judicial system for trial.

The suspect, Jean Uwinkindi, had requested the appeals chamber of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to stay an earlier ruling that he be transferred to Rwanda.

In that decision of 5 April, the President of the ICTR, Vagn Joensen, requested that the ICTR registrar ensure that the transfer of Mr. Uwinkindi takes place within 14 days. The judge also directed the registrar to assign two legal officers from the ICTR registry or chambers as interim monitors of Mr. Uwinkindi’s trial in Rwanda.

Mr. Uwinkindi was a former Pentecostal pastor in the Kigali Rural prefecture. He is accused of being responsible for attacks against Tutsis in various locations. He was arrested in Uganda in June 2010, and has been held in the ICTR detention facility in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, where the ICTR is based.

Mr. Uwinkindi’s defence had cited an unrelated case before the Rwandan High Court and argued that there was “compelling evidence” that the national prosecuting authority “has acted in a manner inconsistent with any respect for the defendant’s right to a fair trial,” and that “the High Court has permitted serious violations of the defendant’s fair trial rights to go unchecked.”

In its ruling, the ICTR appeals chamber stated that it considered that it had already concluded that the referral chamber acted within its discretion in distinguishing Mr. Uwinkindi’s case from other cases in Rwanda.

It also considered that, unlike other trials in Rwanda, Mr. Uwinkindi’s trial is subject to monitoring under the authority of the ICTR and to additional protections and guarantees under Rwandan laws applicable to cases transferred from the tribunal.

Mr. Uwinkindi’s indictment includes counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and extermination as a crime against humanity.

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