ICTR sides with Rwanda in genocide suspect Uwinkidi case

RWANDA IS COMPETENT TO TRY YOU: ICTR tells Genocide Suspect Jean Uwinkindi

RWANDA IS COMPETENT TO TRY YOU: ICTR tells Genocide Suspect Jean Uwinkindi

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania has said that Rwanda has the competence and facilities to conduct a fair trial in the case of genocide suspect, and Rwandan Pentecostal pastor, Jean Uwinkindi.

This comes after the court dismissed claims made by the suspect for the last three years claiming that he was not accorded a fair trial, and at one point the ICTR almost returned the case to Arusha.

Pastor Uwinkindi in the course of trial refused to be defended by two lawyers (Isacar Hishamunda and Joseph Ngabonziza) who were provided by the Rwandan prosecution office, arguing that he has no trust in them.

In a statement released Thursday, the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), said Rwanda has made commendable efforts to provide a legal and policy framework to ensure the provision of legal aid where necessary in all cases conducted in Rwanda.

The statement said that in dismissing Uwinkindi’s request for revocation the MICT Trial Chamber recognised the efforts made by the Judicial authorities in Rwanda to maintain an environment of fair trial.

“Rwanda Bar Association has put in place a roster of over 60 qualified lawyers to represent indigent persons in international crime cases which is more than sufficient for Uwinkindi or any other accused person to choose from” the statement read in part.

The ICTR also said that the judicial system in Rwanda already provides optimum avenues for Uwinkindi to appeal any decision that he is not happy with in the case. The Rwandan government has thus far spent about Rwf 82 million on this protracted case.

The suspect is accused of committing genocide crimes, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as crime against humanity and is alleged to have committed the crimes in Kigali Rural Prefecture between April and July 1994,

The suspect had earlier this year asked the ICTR to have his case moved to another country claiming legal bias.

Pastor Uwikindi was the head of Kayenzi ADEPR Church, in Nyamata Sector, now Bugesera district where his followers allegedly carried out massacres under his command.

He was arrested in South-West Uganda  district of Isingiro, in 2010.  The ICTR transferred Uwinkindi’s case to Kigali on 19 April 2012, following a long legal battle by lawyers of the Pentecostal pastor.