ICTR dismisses motion to delay Uwinkindi’s transfer

The acting president of the ICTR, Vagn Joensen, yesterday dismissed a motion by the UN tribunal’s Registrar to delay the transfer to Rwanda of Jean Uwinkindi. The Registrar, Adama Dieng, petitioned the President of the tribunal to delay the transfer arguing that they were still in talks with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) regarding the monitoring of Uwinkindi’s trial once transferred to Rwanda.
ICTR Prosecutor Boubakar Jallow (L) and Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga at the handover of Jean Uwikindi's case file earlier this week.
ICTR Prosecutor Boubakar Jallow (L) and Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga at the handover of Jean Uwikindi's case file earlier this week.

The acting president of the ICTR, Vagn Joensen, yesterday dismissed a motion by the UN tribunal’s Registrar to delay the transfer to Rwanda of Jean Uwinkindi.

The Registrar, Adama Dieng, petitioned the President of the tribunal to delay the transfer arguing that they were still in talks with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) regarding the monitoring of Uwinkindi’s trial once transferred to Rwanda.

Dieng also argued that the tribunal did not have funds to facilitate the monitoring process, a motion that was strongly contested by the Chief Prosecutor of the UN-backed tribunal, Bubacar Jallow.

“The decision outlining the requirements for monitoring was taken by the Trial Chamber on 28 June 2011, and that discussions with ACHPR regarding modalities of the monitoring and securing necessary funding should have been ongoing since that time, subject to the then pending appeal,” the ruling, which The New Times has obtained, reads in part.

The Registrar had further raised concerns, saying that yet another inspection of the detention facilities where Uwinkindi would be kept needed to be inspected prior to the transfer.

“The president recalls that at least two facilities in Rwanda have already been determined by the tribunal to meet international standards, and therefore decides that the tribunal is satisfied that the conditions of detention are sufficient, as long as the Registrar can ensure that Uwinkindi is placed in either Kigali Central Prison or Mpanga,” Joensen ruled.

Dieng filed the motion just a day after Jallow, who was in Kigali to hand over the Uwinkindi’s file to his Rwandan counterpart, Martin Ngoga.

“The Registry should be directed to immediately implement the Tribunal’s monitoring orders by releasing sufficient funds from non-core functions or seek emergency funding from new sources,” Jallow had averred in his motion.

The Prosecutor argues that the president has no authority to postpone the transfer and that there wasn’t any legal basis to do so.

Jallow cautioned the Registrar that timely referral of the case for trial in Rwanda is vital to the interests of justice, including the right of the accused to trial without undue delay.

Way forward


Meanwhile, another matter currently before court is the motion to amend the indictment of Uwinkindi, which needs the tribunal’s blessings, and this is considered the final legal stage before the suspect is transferred.

According to a source close to this case, the decision is likely to be passed in the course of next week.

Asked whether the ruling on the amendment of the indictment would not affect the transfer process, the source said this was unlikely.

“Whether or not the tribunal adopts the amendment in the indictment, Uwinkindi will have to be transferred to Rwanda,” said the source.

The ruling yesterday, directed the Registrar to ensure that the suspect is transferred to Rwanda not later than 30 days after the ruling on the indictment is passed.

Uwinkindi, who was arrested in Uganda before his transfer to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, is accused of masterminding the Genocide, mainly at the Pentecostal Church in Kayenzi, now in Bugesera District.

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