Arusha, October 15, 2012 (FH) –The defence for Pastor Jean Uwinkindi lacks funds to conduct investigations and find witnesses, according to a report by an International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) official appointed to monitor his genocide trial in Rwanda. Uwinkindi is the first ICTR detainee to have been transferred to Rwanda for trial.

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In his September 2012 report, ICTR monitor Anees Ahmed said he had been in regular contact with both parties, and that lead defence counsel Gatera Gashabana had raised concerns over fund constraints.

“He stated that the legal aid provided to him and his co-counsel only pertains to remuneration for the provision of services,” reads part of the report dated October 4, 2012.

“(The legal aid) does not permit the hiring of investigative personnel or to incur any travel or other expenses to allow the defence to identify potential witnesses, make contact with them, take their preliminary statements and ensure their availability before the court,” it says.

According to the report, Gashabana held some discussions with Rwandan authorities, but there “has been no progress in these negotiations" and  "the issue of non-provision of legal aid for investigative purposes for five months since April 2012, when the accused was transferred, has become a matter of concern”.

A referral Chamber of ICTR ordered the case for Uwinkindi to be referred to Rwanda for trial on June 11, 2011. The decision was confirmed on appeal on December 16, 2011 and the Rwandan pastor was transferred to Rwanda for trial of his case on April 19, 2012.

Two ICTR staff members were subsequently appointed on an interim basis to monitor the referral cases, pending final agreement with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to undertake monitoring.

They are supposed to provide monthly reports to the President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), a UN judicial body established to assume essential functions of the ICTR and of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) after their closures.

Pastor Uwinkindi is charged with genocide and extermination. He was born in Rutsiro commune, Kibuye prefecture (western Rwanda), in 1951. The prosecution, according to the report, has indicated its readiness to take the case for trial.