Arusha, February 27, 2012 (FH) - The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has stayed the first detainee transfer to Rwanda and ordered the Registrar to look for new monitors, after talks with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) failed.

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In a an order dated February 24, Judge Khalida Rashid Khan ordered that the transfer of Pastor Jean Uwinkindi should be stayed, pending the establishment of a suitable monitoring mechanism for his trial.

Judge Khan says the Registrar filed confidential submissions on February 13 in which he noted "continued complications in reaching an agreement with the ACHPR", and that he has now informed her that "he has been unable, despite his best efforts, to reach an agreement with the ACHPR".  The Registrar noted "difficulties at securing funding and discrepancies between the understanding of the Referral Chamber and the conditions now sought by the ACHPR", according to the order.

The ICTR's June 28, 2011 decision approving Uwinkindi's transfer had requested the Registrar to open talks with the ACHPR to monitor whether the pastor's rights are respected in Rwanda.

In the latest order, Judge Khan directed the Registrar to explore alternative monitoring mechanisms, saying he had already proposed several. "I consider the Registrar's proposed alternatives of organisations who have 'demonstrated an interest in human rights in the region and might be willing to do such work on a pro-bono basis', namely ICJ-Kenya, Amnesty International, l'Observatoire International des Avocats, or the Pan African Lawyers Union are options that the President could consider, upon being presented with additional information," says Judge Khan, as well as the Registrar's proposal that "two legal officers from Chambers at the Tribunal could be re-deployed to Kigali to undertake the monitoring".

Judge Khan's order gives the Registrar until March 16, 2012, to hold urgent discussions and negotiations and file submissions detailing "the steps that have been undertaken to secure monitoring and provide details of the proposed options for monitoring".

The ICTR's decision to transfer Uwinkindi was confirmed by the ICTR Appeals Chamber on December 16, and on January 20 the ICTR's Acting President decided that he should be transferred within 30 days.  However on January 25, Uwinkindi filed a motion for review of the Appeals Court decision, and got a temporary stay. Judge Khan's order follows the Appeals Court's decision of February 23 which dismissed Uwinkindi's motion but said the ICTR President should be convinced that an effective monitoring mechanism is in place before Uwinkindi is transferred.


© Hirondelle News Agency