Arusha, 15 April 2008 (FH) - The former Mayor of Murambi commune, eastern Rwanda, Jean-Baptist Gatete, held by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) over the charges of 1994 genocide and crimes against humanity, has asked for a public hearing on the motion of Prosecutor to transfer him to Kigali, reports Hirondelle Agency.  

1 min 18Approximate reading time

The transfer motion was filed on 27 November 2007. Gatete has pleaded not guilty.

"The importance of the motion is such that the parties should have the opportunity of exchanging directly with the judges in order to make sure that each argument is well defended, explained and understood", according to Richard Dube, the accused' s lawyer. He added: "A public hearing will demonstrate that justice was rendered at the end of a fair process."

According to Article 74 A of the ICTR Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Chamber can render a decision on the motion on only the basis of the briefs filed by the parties, unless it was decided to hear the motion in a public.

A landmark public hearing on a transfer request to Rwanda is scheduled for 24 April in the case of Yussuf Munyakazi, a former businessman.

"Jean-Baptist Gatete should be able to benefit from the same right to be heard", supports Dube, in his application filed last week at the ICTR Registry.

In addition to Gatete and Munyakazi, three other ICTR defendants are the subject of transfer requests to Rwandan courts.

The two other detainees lined up for transfer to Kigali are: Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, ex-Commander of Ngoma Camp and former businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga. The former inspector of the judicial police in Kivumu commune, Fulgence Kayishema, is still at large

The transfers to national jurisdictions was part of the ICTR's completion strategy of all first instance trials by end of the year as directed by the UN which the Security Council. Currently eleven trials are underway for 27 accused. Since it was created by the UN Security Council in November 1994, the tribunal has convicted 30 accused and acquitted five.


© Hirondelle News Agency