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A Key Milestone for Rwandan Justice

A Key Milestone for Rwandan Justice

Republic of Rwanda

Office of the Prosecutor-General

A Key Milestone for Rwandan Justice

For the first time, ICTR refersgenocide case to Rwanda

Kigali 16 January 2012-Former Pentecostal pastor and genocide suspect, Jean Uwinkindi, will face trial in Kigali after the ICTR handed his file to the Rwandan prosecutor, the first such transfer in the seventeen year history of the court.

ICTR prosecutor, Hassan B. Jallow and Martin Ngoga, Rwanda’s Prosecutor-General, announced the decision at a joint press conference today, describing it as a key milestone along the path towards lasting justice for victims of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.

“Over seventeen short years, the government and legal profession, urged on by our citizens, have worked tirelessly to build courts and develop laws capable ofdelivering justice for Rwandans by Rwandans in a way the earns therespect of the world,” Mr Ngoga said.

“Today’s announcement shows the worldhow far we have come,” he said.

Jean Uwinkindi, a former Pentecostal pastor, was arrested in Uganda in June 2010 on counts of genocide,conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity. He is alleged to have led several groups of armed killers targeting Tutsi civilians in multiple attacks that spanned the 100 days of the genocide between April and July 1994. At the time,Uwinkindi was pastor in charge of the Pentecostal Church of Kayenzi in Nyamata south east of Kigali. Closely aligned with the extremist wing of the MRND party, Uwinkindi is alleged to have sought the assistance of gendarmes within the ex-FAR to exterminate the local Tutsi population. After he fled in July 1994, two thousand corpses were discovered near his church.

Speaking of the ICTR’s decision totransfer the file to Rwanda, Mr Jallow said:

“The referral reflects our acknowledgement of the important advancements Rwanda hasmade in terms of law reform and capacity building within the justicesystem. 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".

Martin Ngoga noted that Rwanda has systematically addressed previous concerns raised by the ICTR about the country’s capacity to deliver fair and effective justice, including by eliminating the death penalty in 2007.

“As the Gacaca system has proven, Rwandans are committed to a form of justice that respects the rights of all concerned, as well as facilitate shealing and reconciliation. We are delighted that the ICTR has come to agree with us – and now clearly recognizes the depth of our capabilities and commitment.”

Under ICTR rules relating to thetransfer of cases, the prosecutor may send observers to monitor theUwinkindi trial.

Ends

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About the ICTR

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is the first international court of law established to prosecute high-rankingindividuals for massive human rights violations in Africa. Thepurpose of this court is to prosecute those allegedly responsible forthe 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

Inan effort to punish those responsible for genocide, the UnitedNations established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.On 8 November 1994, the United Nations Security Council adoptedresolution 955 (1994), which established “an international tribunalfor the sole purpose of prosecuting persons responsible for genocideand other serious violations of international humanitarian lawcommitted in the territory of Rwanda and Rwandan citizens responsiblefor genocide and other such violations committed in the territory ofneighboring States, between 1 January 1994 and 31 December 1994.


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