Arusha, 11 September 2007 (FH) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) asked last Friday to transfer to Rwandan courts, two civilians and a Rwandan soldier, indicted by the ICTR and held in Arusha.

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Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, former businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga and former militia leader Yussuf Munyakazi are the subject of separate motions filed last Friday. According to the rules of the ICTR, the president judge of the tribunal must designate, for each of the three motions, a chamber which will rule on the transfer request after having heard the arguments from the prosecutor and the defendant.

Lieutenant Hategekimana, which the prosecutor does not indicate the date of birth, is originally from Gitarama, central Rwanda. During the 1994 genocide, he commanded the small military camp of Ngoma, in the town of Butare, in the south of the country. Arrested in February 2003 in Congo-Brazzaville, he is charged with genocide, complicity to genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, rapes and other inhuman acts.

Born in 1945, Kanyarukiga is, for his part, a native of the Kibuye prefecture (north-western Rwanda). Arrested in July 2005 in South Africa, this former businessman is accused of making an agreement in order to commit genocide, genocide, complicity to genocide and extermination, crimes that he would have committed in Kivumu, his native commune.

Lastly, the former militia leader in Bugarama, in the former prefecture of Cyangugu (southern Rwanda), Yussuf Munyakazi, also originating from Kibuye, is charged with genocide, complicity to genocide and extermination. 72 years old, he was arrested in May 2004 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The ICTR, which the Security Council has asked to finish by next year its first instance trials, is obligated to transfer certain cases to national courts, including Rwanda. This tribunal based in Arusha, in northern Tanzania, has to date rendered 28 convictions and 5 acquittals. The prosecutor has already transferred 30 investigation cases to Rwanda as well as that of a wanted defendant, Fulgence Kayishema.

No transfer of accused according to article 11 bis of the rules of the tribunal has been carried out. The only transfer case related to Michel Bagaragaza, whose transfer to the Netherlands was annulled last month. Bagaragaza should return to Arusha.

Rwanda is requesting to try him, as it is also requesting to try the other aforementioned defendants.

Two other accused were arrested recently in France, Wenceslas Munyeshyeka and Laurent Bucyibaruta, and should be transferred to Arusha before setting out again, if the ICTR decides it, to France, which has agreed to try them.

© Hirondelle News Agency