The first Genocide suspect to be transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is, this week, expected to arrive in the country from the Arusha-based UN Detention Centre. The tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor handed over the suspect’s file to Rwanda’s Prosecutor General in an historic event in Kigali on Monday.
The referral and ultimate transfer to Rwanda of Uwinkindi, a former clergyman from Bugesera District, should ensure that more cases of Genocide suspects are sent to Rwanda, not only from the ICTR, but other countries as well.
Several countries, much as they have previously expressed goodwill to dispense justice, as evidenced in the dozens of arrests of Genocide fugitives, have remained adamant to extradite the suspects.
The position was mainly premised on the fact that there was no precedence to refer to, with others basing their reluctance to send fugitives to Rwanda, on an earlier decision by the ICTR which, in 2008, had pronounced that Rwandan courts did not have what it took to try the suspects.
Now that the tribunal is finally sending a person in their own custody to Rwanda, it is safe to state that a compelling precedence has been set and, more similar decisions should follow suit.
The decision is enough to guide national jurisdictions, especially in Europe and North America, to confidently move to get rid of wanted Rwandan fugitives from their territories.