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ICTR prosecutor refers 3 cases to Rwanda for trial

Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] Hassan Bubacar Jallow [JURIST news archive] filed new applications [press release] Thursday for the referral of three cases for trial in Rwanda. The first was Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [case materials], a former Rwandan pastor who pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in July to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The second application was for Fulgence Kayishema [case materials; JURIST report], who was a police inspector during the war and has been charged with conspiring to exterminate Tutsis during the Hutu-led uprising, which left around 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutus dead. The last application was for Charles Sikubwabo [case materials], former Bourgmestre of Gishyita, Kibuye Prefecture. Sikubwabo is facing similar charges as Kayishema. Jallow filed applications for the referral of these cases to Rwanda for trial in 2007, but the applications failed because the trial chambers were worried that the defendants would not receive fair trials as a result of some of the laws at the time.

Last month, representatives from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the ICTR appeared before the UN General Assembly to request additional financial resources [JURIST report] and institutional support on behalf of the various war crimes tribunals. In June, the ICTR transferred [JURIST report] the cases of 25 suspects to Rwandan authorities. The suspects, who have been investigated but not yet indicted by the ICTR, are believed to be in hiding abroad. The transfers are a part of the strategy intended to finish [completion strategy text, PDF] the court's trial work by 2011. Rwandan Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga told the UN Security Council last year that the decisions by the ICTR not to transfer pending cases to Rwandan jurisdiction, including genocide suspects Jean-Baptiste Gatete and Yussuf Munyakazi [case materials] undermines judicial reforms [JURIST report] and hinders national reconciliation.

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