03.10.07 - RWANDA/ICTR - RWANDA STATES ITS ABILITY TO TRY ICTR DEFENDANTS

Arusha, 3 October 2007 (FH) - Rwanda, in a written response to a request from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), estimates itself qualified and able to try an ICTR defendant: the former judicial police detective Fulgence Kayishema, it was learned Wednesday from an official source.
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On 11 June, the prosecutor of the ICTR, Gambian Hassan Bubacar Jallow, filed a motion requesting that the tribunal authorize it to transfer to Rwandan courts the case of this fugitive. On 19 July, the Rwandan government asked to be heard, as a "friend of the court", in this procedure.

In a decision rendered on 14 September, the chamber designated for this procedure accepted the request of the Rwandan authorities, while asking a certain number of questions about the capacity of the Rwandan legal system to try a ICTR defendant.

In its answer, dated 30 September, the Rwandan Attorney General, Martin Ngoga, writes that Rwanda "has jurisdiction over the offences with which Fulgence Kayishema is charged". The former judicial police detective is accused of making an agreement in order to commit genocide, genocide, complicity to genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

Insisting on the experience of the judges, the prosecution and Rwandan lawyers, in regard to genocide trials, Ngoga makes the point that his country "is able to prosecute Fulgence Kayishema before its courts". It stresses that "Rwandan law provides adequate fair trial guarantees that meet international standards".

Ngoga also ensures that "the accused will not suffer the death penalty in the event of a conviction", since this sentence was abolished in July in Rwanda. "Sufficient arrangements exist for the monitoring of the trial of the accused in Rwanda by the African Commission of human and peoples' rights", he added.

For all these reasons, he asks the ICTR judges to authorize the transfer of the Kayishema case to Rwandan courts. In the event of a transfer to Rwanda, the defendant will be tried in first instance by the High court and in appeal by the Supreme Court. A possibility of recourse for review is also planned.

In addition to Kayishema, who is still wanted, the ICTR prosecutor has asked to transfer to Rwandan courts three prisoners awaiting their trials: Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana and the former businessmen Gaspard Kanyarukiga and Yussuf Munyakazi.

The transfer to national courts "of accused of intermediate or subordinate rank" forms part of the ICTR completion strategy; which must complete by the end of next year its first instance trials.

ER/PB/MM
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