26 June 2012

Rwanda: Tribunal Transfers Case of Former Rwandan Mayor to National Authorities

The United Nations tribunal trying key suspects implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today transferred to Rwandan authorities the case of Aloys Ndimbati, a former local government official charged with crimes against humanity.

Mr. Ndimbati, who was the bourgmestre [mayor] of the Gisovu commune from 1990 until the end of July 1994, currently remains at large, according to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

He has been charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, as well as with murder, extermination, rape and persecution as crimes against humanity. It is alleged that Mr. Ndimbati, along with others, was involved in the planning and execution of the systematic attacks directed against the Tutsi civilian population in the Gisovu commune during the Rwandan genocide.

In its ruling, the ICTR Referral Chamber ordered that the case of Mr. Ndimbati be referred to the authorities of Rwanda, which will then refer the case to the High Court of Rwanda.

In its decision, the Referral Chamber expressed its hope that Rwanda, in accepting referrals from the Tribunal, "will put into practice the commitments it has made about its good faith, capacity, and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international justice."

Mr. Ndimbati's case is the seventh case to be transferred to Rwanda by the ICTR. The previous six cases involved Jean Uwinkindi and Bernard Munyagishari whose transfer decisions were issued in June 2011 and June 2012, respectively, and of fugitives Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikuwabo, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, and Ryandikayo, whose cases were referred to Rwanda for trial from February onwards this year.

Based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, the ICTR was set up after the Rwandan genocide, when at least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed during three months of bloodletting that followed the deaths of then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira when their plane was brought down over the capital, Kigali on 6 April 1994.

In another develoment, the United Nations has called on South Sudan to develop a comprehensive plan for curbing violence in Jonglei state, as it released the findings of an investigation into inter-communal attacks that claimed hundreds of lives there in 2011 and early 2012.

The report, compiled by the UN Mission in South Sudan with support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, documents crimes and human rights violations that took place during the cycle of attacks between the Murle and Lou Nuer ethnic groups.

It states that in December 2011, an estimated 6,000-8,000 armed youth, militarily organized and primarily from the Lou Nuer group, mobilized in Jonglei and launched a series of systematic attacks over 12 days on areas inhabited by the Murle group.

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