Arusha, June 28, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for the first time in 17 years Tuesday referred one of its cases to Rwandan judiciary for prosecution.

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The case involves Jean Uwinkindi, a a pastor at the Pentecostal Church in the eastern part of the country. The ruling  is not a final one as the pastor has the right to appeal.

The decision was made by Trial Chamber Presided by Judge Florence Rita Arrey.The Tribunal states in a press release:  ‘'the chamber was satisfied that the government of Rwanda was prepared to receive its first referral from the ICTR.''

‘'The Chamber expressed its solemn hope that the Republic of Rwanda would actualize in practice the commitments it made in its filing about its good faith, capacity and willingness to enforce  the highest standard of international justice,'' reads part of the Press release of the UN Tribunal.

The Chamber further noted that Rwanda had made material changes in its law and had indicated its capacity and willingness to prosecute cases referred by ICTR adhering to internationally recognized fair trial standards enshrined in the ICTR statute and other human rights instruments.

According to the press release, the Chamber requested the Registrar to appoint the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Right (ACHPR) to monitor Uwinkindi's trial in Rwanda and would bring to the attention of the ICTR President any potential issues that may arise during the proceedings.

However the tribunal warned that it has ‘' authority under Rule 11 bis to revoke the case from Rwanda as a last resort if necessary.''

The 59 year old pastor is alleged to have committed the offences between April 6 and May 1994 in Kanzenze commune, Kigali Rural prefecture (Central Rwanda).     

He was born in Rutsiro commune, Kibuye prefecture (west Rwanda) in 1951. According to the indictment, he is individually responsible for genocide and extermination because he allegedly planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the preparation or execution of such crimes.

The trial date was not set because of the pending application by the prosecution to have Uwinkindi's case alongside two others transferred to Rwanda for trial.

Uwinkindi was arrested on June 30, 2010 in Uganda as he was coming into the country from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


© Hirondelle News Agency