09.01.08 - ICTR/NGIRABATWARE - EX-RWANDAN MINISTER'S TRANSFER FROM GERMANY ENCOUNTERS LEGAL HITCHES

Arusha, 9 January 2008 (FH) - More than two months after his arrest in Germany, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has not yet succeeded in obtaining the transfer to Arusha, Tanzania of Augustin Ngirabatware, former Minister for Planning in the interim government during the 1994 genocide.
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Two days after his arrest on 17 September, last year, the ICTR hailed the German police's co-operation over the operation and said that necessary steps were being worked out for the accused's transfer to the special UN Detention Facility in Arusha, the seat of the tribunal.

However, the transfer is now encountered with difficulties because of the weaknesses of the charges against the accused presented before German authorities, Hirondelle News Agency has reliably learned from its sources.

The Office of the Prosecution (OTP) claimed that Ngirabatware's indictment had no problems.

The accused is also son-in-law of another suspect, Felician Kabuga, who is alleged to have financed the 1994 genocide and since is on the run.

The former Minister for Planning is facing six charges to conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity to genocide, direct and public incitement to commit the genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

According to Hirondelle sources, the German authorities consider that the charges are too vague and allegedly are refusing, for the time being, to endorse the transfer move.

The indictment is said to have been compiled when Ngirabatware was wanted at the same time as Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Rwandan minister for the higher education, arrested in France November 1999.

Kamuhanda has since been tried and sentenced to life in prison, the maximum sentence under the UN statute.

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© Hirondelle News Agency