UN tribunal denies request to refer former militia leader’s case to Rwanda
Yussuf Munyakazi is alleged to have planned, instigated, ordered, participated in and otherwise aided and abetted the killing of Tutsi civilians who took refuge in several churches in Rwanda’s Bugarame commune, where he led an Interahamwe militia between April and July 1994.
Mr. Munyakazi, who was also a prominent local businessman and farmer, was arrested in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2004 and brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Announcing its decision yesterday to deny the prosecution application to refer the case to the Rwandan court system, the ICTR said that while the country has abolished the death penalty, its sentence of life imprisonment in isolation potentially contravenes international human rights standards.
Additionally, the tribunal expressed reservations about Mr. Munyakazi’s right to a fair trial. In particular, it voiced concern regarding the independence of the judiciary.