Arusha, January 23, 2012 (FH) - Genocide-accused Pastor Jean Uwinkindi, currently in custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will be transferred to Rwanda for trial before February 23, 2012.

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On Friday, the President of the Tribunal ruled that Uwinkindi should be transferred to Rwanda "within 30 days of acceptance of the corrected indictment by the Trial Chamber."

A reliable source at ICTR told Hirondelle News Agency on Monday that the same day the Trial Chamber approved the corrected indictment on charges of genocide and extermination, as a crime against humanity.

On January 20, 2012, the Office of the President resolved the controversy surrounding the effective transfer of the Pentecostal Church pastor after the Prosecutor accused the Registrar of trying to delay the process. The prosecutor said timely referral of the case was vital to the interests of justice, including the right of accused to trial without undue delay.   

The Registrar had sought guidance of the president on the matter, alleging there were prior arrangements that needed to be sorted out first.

They include securing funds and agreement for the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) that would be monitoring the trial and the satisfaction by the Tribunal on detention facility whether it meets international standards before the effective transfer.

But the President considered that the decision outlining requirements for the monitoring process was taken by Trial Chamber on June 28, 2011 when it granted the prosecution's referral application on the case for Uwinkindi and the discussions with the ACHPR on the matter and the funding should have been ongoing since that time.

"Therefore, the President considers that a further stay in the transfer for such purposes is not warranted at this time," acting President, Judge Vagn Joensen, said in the decision.

Regarding detentions facilities, the President said two of them in Kigali have been determined to meet international standards.

The Trial Chamber's decision authorizing the transfer of Uwinkindi's case to Rwanda for trial was confirmed by Appeals Chamber on December 18, 2011 after dismissing his appeal, opposing the move. But the Chamber stayed his transfer pending confirmation of his amended indictment.

Uwinkindi, born in Rutsiro commune, Kibuye prefecture (west Rwanda) in 1951 was arrested in connection with the charges on June 30, 2010 in Uganda as he was coming into the country from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was transferred to the seat of ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania on July 2, 2010.


© Hirondelle News Agency