Arusha, 10 June 2008 (FH) - Rwanda's Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga, has said that his country was seriously concerned by the recent decisions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Chambers to refuse transfers of defendants to Kigali to stand trial.

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"This could undermine the confidence (of Rwanda) in the international justice system", the representative of Rwandan justice was quoted to have told the UN Security Council last week.

According to the United Nations Press Service, Mr Ngoga considered that the decision not to handover the former Rwandan Trader Yussuf Munyakazi to Kigali was not in conformity with reports of the Tribunal, which welcomed the unambiguous full co-operation of Rwanda. The trial Chamber rejected Munyakazi's transfer motion filed by the Prosecution last month on grounds that the accused may not get a fair trial.

This week, another trial chamber also made a similar ruling for the 63-year-old former businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga.

Decisions on three others targeted for transfers are still awaited -- former Commander of Ngoma Camp Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, former Mayor Jean Baptist Gatete and former Inspector of Judicial Police, Fulgence Kaysihema. The latter is still at large

Ngoga has hinted that the ICTR prosecutor would be on the point of appealing. The 30-day appeal deadline expires in next two weeks for Munyakazi.

The Rwandan prosecutor also said to be disappointed that the actions of the judges relied on reports from NGOs, which, according to him, was unjustifiable.

The prosecution's transfer motions are within the framework of the ICTR's exit strategy, which wants to transfer some cases to national jurisdictions in order to finish by the end of the year all first instance trials as directed by the Security Council. However, the Prosecutor last week asked the Security Council for additional one year to complete his work.

Rwanda is the only country so far which has requested to try ICTR accused genocide suspects detained in Arusha.

The UN Court has far, delivered 30 convictions and five acquittals since its establishment by the Security Council in November, 1994.

Eight accused, held in Arusha, are currently awaiting their trials. One is detained in Europe awaiting their transfers to the ICTR, whereas 13 suspects are still on the run, including Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of killings, which according to UN estimates claimed lives of about 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.


© Hirondelle News Agency