Arusha, November 24, 2010 (FH)-The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has allowed the prosecution to make amendments of the indictment in the case of Rwandan Pentecostal Church Pastor, Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi, and ordered his further appearance to be conducted on December 1, 2010.

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"The prosecution to file the indictment as amended in accordance with this decision in English by November 25, 2010," Trial Chamber III presided by Judge Dennis Byron said in its decision posted in the ICTR website and made available to Hirondelle News Agency Wednesday.

In the new indictment, the prosecution seeks, among others, to withdraw the count of conspiracy to commit genocide, add more details to the charges based upon new evidence available to them, correct the defendant's name and add joint criminal enterprise and aiding and abetting as forms of participation.

"The defence does not oppose the addition of greater specificity in the proposed amended indictment, the withdrawal of count of conspiracy to commit genocide and correction of Jean Uwinkindi's name. The Chamber finds that greater specificity and deletion of a count as well as correction of name will provide an ameliorating effect that does not prejudice Uwinkindi," it ruled.

The defence had earlier opposed to the addition of joint criminal enterprise and aiding and abetting as forms of participation because such would not be ameliorating, arising from a lack of the prosecution's diligence and would cause prejudice and delay.

However, the Chamber ruled that the prosecution filed its application for proposed amended indictment only two months after the defendant's initial appearance and was, therefore, diligent in bringing the change promptly.

"Further, the Chamber will provide Uwinkindi with sufficient time and resources to conduct his investigation and therefore the addition of aiding and abetting will not prejudice him," it said.

The Chamber's decision to allow the amendments of the indictment comes after the prosecution had filed a motion, seeking to transfer Uwinkindi's case alongside two others to Rwanda for trial.

Uwinkindi was arrested on June 30, 2010 in Uganda as he was coming into the country from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was transferred to Arusha and made his initial appearance on July 9, 2010. He pleaded not guilty to three charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

Pastor Uwinkindi, who was born in Rutsiro commune, Kibuye prefecture (west Rwanda) in 1951, is alleged to have led several attacks against Tutsis who took refuge in his own parish of Kayenzi, in Bugesera region (east Rwanda).

It is claimed that in July 1994, when Pastor Uwinkindi fled Rwanda, approximately two thousand corpses were found near to the church of Kayenzi. He also allegedly collaborated with the then MRND ruling party before and during the genocide in 1994 to incite killings of Tutsis including those in Kanzenze commune.

Uwinkindi is the second genocide suspect to be arrested in Uganda in less than a year. In October 2009, Uganda apprehended, former Rwandan military officer, Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana, after he entered the country from DRC. The latter's trial has been set to begin on January 17, next year.


© Hirondelle News Agency