The United Nations tribunal trying suspects connected to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has dismissed an appeal by a former pastor accused of inciting attacks against Tutsi civilians, reaffirming its decision to refer him for trial in the national court system.
On 28 June, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) referred Mr. Uwinkindi’s case to Rwanda, marking the first time in the tribunal’s history it has done so.
Mr. Uwinkindi’s appeal was overturned on Friday as the tribunal judges said they were convinced that Rwanda possesses the ability to accept and prosecute the case.
According to a news release issued by the tribunal today, the ICTR dismissed the appeal “in all respects and affirmed the impugned decision.” But it placed Mr. Uwinkindi’s transfer to Rwanda on hold until the trial chamber accepts a corrected indictment, recalling that in a separate decision it had ordered one of the ICTR’s trial chambers to direct prosecutors to file a corrected indictment in the case to remedy several defects which had been identified.
The ICTR’s referral chamber expressed “its solemn hope that the Republic of Rwanda would actualize in practice the commitments it made in its filings about its good faith, capacity and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international justice.”
It also requested that the registrar appoint representatives of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to monitor Mr. Uwinkindi’s trial in Rwanda and determined that the commission should bring to the ICTR’s attention any potential issues that may arise during the proceedings.
Mr. Uwinkindi was a former Pentecostal pastor in the Kigali Rural prefecture. He is accused of being responsible for attacks against Tutsis at Kayenzi church, in the Biyimana and Rwankeli administrative areas, and in Cyugaro’s swamps. He was arrested in Uganda in June 2010 and transferred to the UN detention facility in the city of Arusha, Tanzania, the following month.