16.06.08 - ICTR/TRANSFERS - RWANDAN CATHOLIC HEAD WANTS RPF SOLDIERS TRIAL OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY

16.06.08 - ICTR/TRANSFERS - RWANDAN CATHOLIC HEAD WANTS RPF SOLDIERS TRIAL OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY

Arusha, 16 May,2008 (FH)-The Head of the Roman Catholic in Rwanda, Arcbishop Thaddee Ntihinyurwa, said that the trial of the four Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) soldiers alleged to have killed members of the Catholic clergy during the 1994 genocide, was best to have it conducted outside Rwanda in the interest of justice.

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He is not convinced that the church's lost clergy would get justice, citing possible interference from government authorities, reported Rwanda News Agency (RNA).

"Justice can only be rendered by foreigners not Rwandans that are most likely to be compromised by the establishment'' claimed Ntihinyurwa.

Ntihinyurwa was then Bishop of Cyangugu at the time of genocide until 1996, when he was named to succeed Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva, who was among 13 clergymen allegedly killed by the RPF soldiers on 5 June 1994 in Kabgayi, Muhanga District., central Rwanda.

The Rwandan Ministry of Defence announced last week that it had detained four officers in connection with the clergymen's killings-Brig Gen Wilson Gumisiriza, Maj. Wilson Ukwishaka, Capt. John Butera and Capt (Retired) Dieudonne Rukeba.

They are expected to appear in court soon.

According to ICTR Prosecutor, Justice Hassan Jallow, Rwanda shared concurrent jurisdiction with the tribunal over such offences and that the UN Court would monitor the trial. However, he has warned that the trial can be retracted if it lacked transparency.

Justice Jallow's predecessor, Swiss Carla Del Ponte, was the first to disclose over the RPF investigations during her tenure between 1999 and 2003.

The Rwandan government in the past has been furious over the investigations and even reached a boiling point by refusing to co-operate with the UN tribunal and once even denied entry visa to Del Ponte.

SC/PB

© Hirondelle News Agency