On 11 June, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) requested transfer of the case of Fulgence Kayishema to Rwanda for trial. It is the first request for transfer of an ICTR case to the Rwandan national jurisdiction.
Kayishema is among the 18 fugitives indicted by the ICTR who are still at large. The indictment that was confirmed on 3 July 2001, charges Kayishema with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.
Kayishema was born in 1961 in Kivumu commune, Kibuye Prefecture of Rwanda. During 1994, he was the inspector of police in the same commune. He allegedly conspired with Father Athanase Seromba and others to prepare and carry out a plan to exterminate the Tutsi population in Kivumu commune and elsewhere in the Kibuye. It is alleged that in implementing their plan, thousands of Tutsis, including those that had sought refuge at Nyange Parish, were exterminated.
The Government of Rwanda has expressed its willingness and readiness to accept and prosecute the Accused, with assurances that he will receive a fair trial, that in the event of conviction, the death penalty will not be applied and that Rwanda will comply with all the conditions required by the Trial Chamber in its Referral Order.
According to the Prosecutor’s submission, Rwanda meets the requirements set out in the Tribunal’s Rule 11 bis to merit transfer of the case for trial. In addition, Rwanda’s legal framework guarantees all the Rule 11 bis safeguards including the protection of witnesses and allowing for the monitoring of the proceedings by monitors appointed by the Prosecutor. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has accepted the responsibility to monitor the trial on behalf of the Prosecutor.
The Prosecutor asked the Trial Chamber to require the ICTR Registrar to designate a defence counsel to represent the interests of the Accused in the referral proceedings. He also asked the Trial Chamber to issue a new warrant of arrest requiring states to cooperate in arresting Kayishema and transferring him to Rwandan authorities.
Assisting the Prosecutor is a referral team led by Dr. George Mugwanya, Senior Appeals Counsel.