The visiting Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Boubacar Jallow, yesterday said that Rwanda stands out as the most competent country where outstanding ICTR cases could be transferred as the tribunal winds up its work.
Speaking to the Press after a closed-door meeting with the Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, Jallow said that his office would re-apply for referral of more cases to Rwanda following the refusal of the initial application.
“The Office of the Prosecutor is still committed to making fresh applications for the transfer of cases to Rwanda. When we tried the first time round, it didn’t succeed because of a number of reasons raised by the judges,” said Jallow.
“But since, we have been together with our Rwandan colleagues in resolving these issues and we found solutions to them and very soon we will renew our request to the judges of the ICTR for them to consider sending these cases to Rwanda.”
The office of the Prosecutor had last year applied to have some cases transferred to Rwanda but ICTR judges turned down the request, citing inadequate facilities.
However, Rwanda responded by carrying out drastic reforms in the justice sector and putting in place all the necessary facilities, after which it re-launched its request through the prosecutor, to have remaining cases transferred.
“In the view of the office of the prosecutor, we find Rwanda the most competent country because this is where the crimes were committed, and this where they (suspects) should answer the charges from,” Jallow said.
He hailed the recent arrests of top Genocide fugitives in the DRC and Uganda-saying the development is very encouraging and that there is hope that even the 11 fugitives still at large will be brought to book.
Meanwhile, Ngoga said that Rwanda is still determined to have the cases transferred to Rwanda and downplayed the success of the recent move by the tribunal to transfer the residual cases to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).
“As you know, the Prosecutor has tried to express our willingness to have cases transferred despite the judges’ refusal for certain reasons, but we have since done a lot to correct those areas of concern,” said Ngoga.
“We are still talking-we will talk and review all these issues during his one week visit and by the time he leaves, we will have reached an understanding on how he will file a new application,” Ngoga told reporters.
Ngoga said Rwanda has made reforms in different legislations and judicial processes that the Judges had concerns.
He said that the ICTR has organised a meeting of United Nations Prosecutors that will take place in Kigali to discuss approaches and jurisprudence of the tribunal.