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Request to Transfer Kanyarukiga’s Case to Rwanda Denied

On 6 June 2008, Trial Chamber I denied the Prosecution’s request to transfer the case of Gaspard Kanyarukiga to Rwanda. Born in 1945, he was a businessman in the Kigali and Kibuye prefectures in 1994 .

The Chamber found that the Republic of Rwanda has made notable progress in improving its judicial system. Its legal framework contains satisfactory provisions concerning jurisdiction and criminalises Kanyarukiga’s alleged conduct. The death penalty has been abolished.

However, the Chamber was not satisfied that Kanyarukiga will receive a fair trial if transferred. First, it was concerned that he will not be able to call witnesses residing outside Rwanda to the extent and in a manner which will ensure a fair trial. Second, it accepted that the Defence will face problems in obtaining witnesses residing in Rwanda because they will be afraid to testify. Third, there is a risk that Kanyarukiga, if convicted to life imprisonment there, may risk solitary confinement due to unclear legal provisions in Rwanda.

The Trial Chamber was composed of Judges Erik Møse, presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov and Florence Rita Arrey. In addition to submissions by the Prosecution and the Defence it considered briefs from the Republic of Rwanda, the Kigali Bar Association, Human Rights Watch and the International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, which had been given amicus curiae status.

Gaspard Kanyarukiga was arrested in South-Africa in July 2004. On the basis of acts allegedly committed in 1994 in Kivumu commune, Kibuye prefecture, the indictment charges him with genocide, or in the alternative complicity in genocide, and extermination as a crime against humanity. Kanyarukiga has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

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