Arusha, June 29, 2012 (FH) –The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week transferred two cases to Rwanda for trial, including that of ex-army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Pheneas Munyarugarama, while the Tribunal’s President, Judge Vagn Joensen said they were stepping up efforts to find host countries for acquitted persons.

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Two cases referred to Rwanda: The case of fugitive Pheneas Munyarugarama, a Lieutenant Colonel, was Thursday referred to Rwanda for trial. A similar decision was issued on Monday involving another fugitive, ex-mayor Aloys Ndimbati. In both decisions, the judges expressed hope that Rwanda, in accepting referrals from this Tribunal, would actualize in practice the commitments it has made about its good faith, capacity, and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international justice. The two are charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.


Mugesera raises constitutional issue: genocide-suspect Leon Mugesera said he would challenge the High Court’s decision, dismissing his appeal over a request to delay his case. He claimed that Rwandan constitution provided equality of arms between the prosecution and the defence. Mugesera, who was extradited from Canada in January this year to face genocide charges, following his 1992 inflammatory speech, has been demanding for a delay of commencement of the trial to give him more time to study his case.


Three victims give accounts in Bemba case: On Monday and Tuesday, three victims explained to the judges the experience they went through following attacks by Congolese soldiers allegedly belonging to the group led by Jean-Pierre Bemba. One of them, a woman, claimed to have been sexually assaulted in front of her young daughter by the soldiers. But their accounts will not form part of evidence against Bemba, charged with crimes committed by his troops in Central African Republic between 2002 and 2003. The trial is expected to resume on August 14, when the defence will start presenting its case.



Residual Mechanism

On Monday (July 2, 2012), there will be official opening of the International Residual Mechanism of Criminal Tribunals, Arusha Branch, a judicial body that is due to take over some essential functions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and that of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after their closures.

Ngirabatware trial

On the same day (July 2, 2012), the trial of ex-Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware resumes with further cross-examination by the defence of the last prosecution’s additional witness, who had been brought to counter the alibi evidence of the accused over his absence in Rwanda during genocide.