The Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Mr. Hassan Bubacar Jallow on 16 January 2012 handed-over referral and prosecution materials in the Jean Bosco Uwinkindi case to the Government of the Republic of Rwanda. The case file was handed-over to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Rwanda, Mr. Martin Ngoga in Kigali.
The handover follows a decision by the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal on 18 December 2011 to dismiss Uwinkindi’s appeal against a decision by a Referral Chamber to refer his case to the Rwandan national court system under Rule 11 bis.
Speaking at the ceremony, Justice Jallow said that this was a special occasion, as it marked the first time that the ICTR was transferring a case to Rwanda for trial in the High Court, prior to sending the detainee.
The ICTR Prosecutor pointed out that the process had taken many years, but with perseverance, patience and commitment and the support of International Donors, who contributed to the Capacity Building of the Rwandan Justice System, a major achievement has been registered. This, he said, was an important aspect in fighting impunity in Rwanda and in the region and a major component in the Tribunal’s Completion Strategy.
In his remarks, the Rwandan Prosecutor-General, Mr. Martin Ngoga, thanked the ICTR and the Office of the Prosecutor, for this historical achievement saying it vindicated the legal reforms undertaken by the Government of Rwanda and was recognition of the reconstruction of the Rwandan Justice System.
The Rwandan Prosecutor-General said that the handing-over of the case file opens doors for more cases to be transferred to Rwanda. “We think it is now time for national jurisdictions in countries where we have genocide suspects to acknowledge that it is time for Rwandan cases to be brought home.”
Finally he thanked the ICTR, the Donors and other Development Partners for their continued support to the Rwandan Legal Reforms and Capacity Building of the country’s Justice Sector.
Uwikindi was arrested in Uganda at the end of June 2010. He is charged with the crimes of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as crime against humanity. He is alleged to have committed the crimes in Kigal Rural Prefecture between April and July 1994, where he participated in the massacre at Kayenzi Church that resulted in the death of thousands of innocent victims.