Arusha, 20 November, 2008 (FH) - The government of Rwanda is ready to remove the remaining obstacles on the transfer of genocide accused-persons from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to stand trial in Kigali after losing the first four applications so far.

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"We are still committed to this process until we satisfy the demands of the judges," said Ngoga adding "we think it is the right thing to do because the demands are not impossible to be fulfilled."

Ngoga insisted that the issue of protection of witnesses now under his office would be transferred to the judiciary and that the law on solitary confinement was in its final stages of amendments and would be ready "very soon."

According to Ngoga when the first application was rejected there were about five obstacles raised by the court of first instance but at the Appellate Chamber they were reduced significantly.

He said the independence of the Rwandan judiciary and the question of single judge handling the trial at the court of first instance were no longer doubted by the Appeal Chamber.

On Monday ICTR, once again rejected the fourth application of Prosecutor to transfer to Rwanda genocide case against former Mayor, Jean Baptiste Gatete, on the ground that the accused might not receive fair trial.

According to the Presiding Judge Erik Mose of Norway, three reasons were given for the rejection; failure for the accused to call witnesses from outside Rwanda, defence possibility to face problems in obtaining witnesses residing in the country because of the fear to testify and that if convicted for life imprisonment he may risk solitary confinement due to unclear legal provisions in the Rwanda.

Rwanda's Prosecutor General was optimistic that all obstacles would be able to be sorted out as the process of amending the law to comply with the ICTR demands were in its final touches.

The other applications already rejected on almost similar grounds are of former businessman- Gaspard Kanyarukiga and Yusuf Munyakazi which have also been confirmed by the Appeal Chamber and that of Lieutenant Ildenphonse Hategekimana still awaiting appeal decision.


© Hirondelle News Agency