Arusha, 8 November 2007 (FH) - The organization for the defence of human rights Amnesty International expressed doubts about Rwandan courts by affirming last week that suspects of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) should not be transferred to Rwanda.   

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In this aim, and in accordance with the rules of the tribunal, the ICTR prosecutor filed several weeks ago motions aiming to transfers four accused, of which one of them is still at large. Several chambers were seized, but they have not yet rendered their decisions.
For Amnesty International, before any transfer is done "it must be demonstrated that the Rwandan justice system can operate impartially by investigating and prosecuting crimes by all sides". The organization remains worried that, to date, the crimes committed by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army have not been investigated or prosecuted by the local authorities.
With regards to the guarantees of a fair trial, Amnesty explains that for more than ten years it has expressed concerns on the fairness of the judgments of Rwandan courts, including the semi-traditional gacaca courts. "... of the permanent reports that the guarantees of fair trials are not applied (...) drains the whole of the legal system", writes Amnesty.
The trials of transferred persons must, moreover, according to Amnesty, be followed by independent experts in order to ensure their fairness. These experts must have access to all the aspects of the trial and, in particular, to the transcripts if they cannot attend all the sessions, states Amnesty which suggests allocating funds to the African Commission on Human and People's Rights if it is asked to do so.
It must finally, explains Amnesty, be shown that persons transferred to Rwanda for their trials do not risk torture and will not be subjected to any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Rwanda, points out the organization, has not signed the Convention against Torture. According to the organization, cases of torture in Rwanda have been confirmed by foreign courts and reported by civil society or the media.

© Hirondelle News Agency