Judiciary sets up special chamber

The Superior Council of the Judiciary has established an International Crimes Chamber at the High Court to try internationally connected criminal cases.
Chief Justice, Prof Sam Rugege chaired the meeting.
Chief Justice, Prof Sam Rugege chaired the meeting.

The Superior Council of the Judiciary has established an International Crimes Chamber at the High Court to try internationally connected criminal cases.

The decision to establish the chamber was reached Tuesday during the council’s extraordinary session presided over by the Chief Justice, Sam Rugege.

The chamber will mainly be charged with trying in the first instance, cases of persons extradited to Rwanda from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and other national jurisdictions.

The same council also appointed Athanase Bakuzakundi as the president of the new chamber.

Five other judges in the special chamber in the high court were also appointed.

They are Antoine Muhima, Angeline Rutazana, Alice Nzabonimana and Eugene Ndagijimana.

Among the cases to be handled by the chamber include terrorism, human and drug trafficking and torture.

At the appeal level, the chamber will try cases related to Genocide and genocide ideology.

“We have so many cases related to Genocide ideology which will be handled by this special chamber,” Charles Kaliwabo, Judiciary Spokesperson, observed.

The Judicial council also agreed on the appointment of 14 contractual judges and 19 court registrars.

According to Kaliwabo, the appointment of the contractual judges and court registrars is aimed at helping Primary Courts reduce the backlog of cases.

There are about 30,000 cases pending, almost 5,000 of which are currently before the Supreme Court, which have accumulated since 2009.

Among its first suspects likely to appear before the chamber is Leon Mugesera, who was deported to Rwanda from Canada last month after an almost two-decade long battle against deportation.

Another suspect likely to be committed to the chamber is Jean Uwinkindi, who is expected in the country this month from the ICTR, after his case was referred by the tribunal for trial in Rwandan courts. 

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