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Genocide Suspect Uwinkindi Arrives In Rwanda

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shop http://chios.ro/wp-content/plugins/simple-full-screen-background-image/includes/display-image.php geneva; font-size: small;”>I don’t think there’s any country with a genuine reason not to do what the ICTR has done. They cannot keep contemplating forever. Justice delayed is justice denied

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unhealthy geneva;”>Uwinkindi, cure 61, is the first suspect to be transferred to Rwanda under Rule 11 Bis of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence, governing the transfer of cases from the tribunal to national jurisdictions.

Clad in a suit and tie, Uwinkindi came by a RwandAir flight which touched down at Kigali International Airport at about 6p.m amid a heavy downpour.

Later, a seemingly pensive Uwinkindi emerged through the airport arrivals gate from an airport shuttle.

Among the officials who witnessed his arrival were the ICTR Spokesperson, Roland Amousouga; the head of Rwanda’s Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit, John Bosco Siboyintore; and the Spokesperson of the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), Alain Mukurarinda.

Without handcuffs, Uwinkindi stopped briefly for photographs before he was handed over by the prosecutors to a designated judicial police officer from the Rwanda National Police.

He was then driven to a special transit facility at Kigali Central Prison, which is designated for suspects transferred from the ICTR or other national jurisdiction – where he joined Leon Mugesera, another Genocide suspect who was deported from Canada earlier this year.

Last-ditch motion

“Uwinkindi has been handed over to the police, they will have to observe the normal procedure of handling a criminal case-holding him for not more than 72 hours, and hand him to us before he is arraigned before court,” Mukurarinda told reporters at the airport.

He said during the arraignment, a decision will be made on whether he should be remanded or granted bail.

Arrested in Uganda in June, 2010, Uwinkindi, a former Pentecostal pastor, is accused of spearheading killings in Kanzenze area in the former Kigali-Rural prefecture during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Uwinkindi will be tried under a special law concerning the transfer of Genocide suspects to Rwanda by ICTR or from other states. The decision to transfer him to Rwanda was first made in June 2011 by the tribunal’s Referral Chamber, and was later upheld by the Appeals Chamber, after giving a clean bill of health to Rwandan judiciary.

His transfer came hours after the ICTR Appeals Chamber dismissed his last-ditch motion in which he requested for a stay of the transfer for seven days so that he can file a more detailed application blocking his transfer. The motion was based on the case that is before the Rwandan High Court involving Victoire Ingabire, who had boycotted her case towards its conclusion, suggesting that Rwanda’s judiciary was not independent.

In dismissing the ‘extremely urgent’ motion filed on Tuesday, the chamber, yesterday morning, averred that it considered that the Appeals Chamber had already concluded the Referral Chamber acted within its discretion in distinguishing Uwinkindi’s case from other cases in Rwanda.

Monitors

“18 years after the devastating events of the 1994 Genocide, this is a landmark day for Rwandan justice and for continued trust and cooperation between Rwanda’s national justice system and its foreign and international counterparts,” read part of a statement from the national prosecution office. “The NPPA would like to thank the ICTR generally for the significant vote of confidence it has given to the Rwandan justice system, and for the smooth execution of this transfer,” it added.

Uwinkindi, a former Pastor of the Pentecostal Church in Kanzenze, Bugesera in the former Kigali-Rural prefecture, is accused of unleashing killers on thousands of Tutsi refugees, including members of his church, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

His indictment alleges that he led a group of killers to look for and exterminate Tutsi civilians, and on numerous occasions planned, instigated, ordered and committed acts of genocide against Tutsi. The prosecution says that after Uwinkindi fled Rwanda in July 1994, about 2,000 corpses were found near his former church.

Uwinkindi is charged with three counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

The trial of Uwinkindi, which will be heard on first instance by a specialised chamber at the High Court, will be monitored by a selected team of two officials designated by the ICTR registrar, pending third party monitors.

One of the monitors was present at the airport and witnessed the handover. The ICTR appointed monitors are expected to work on interim basis, as the UN court continues negotiations with an interested party to monitor the process on a long-term basis.

Negotiations are already underway with the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights for that purpose.

Observers say the arrival in Kigali of Uwinkindi is a major breakthrough as far as dealing with Genocide fugitives is concerned as it paves way for other transfers, both from the tribunal and national jurisdiction.

Precedence has been a key element in transfer of cases, mainly of indicted Genocide architects to Rwanda, especially owing to the fact that the same tribunal had, in 2008, ruled against the transfer of cases to Rwanda, citing flaws in the country’s judicial system.

At that time, the ICTR prosecutor had separately referred about four cases to Rwanda, and all of them were denied on the same grounds, even after Rwanda’s Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga appeared before the tribunal as an Amicus Curiae (friend of court) to make the country’s case.

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