27 August 2012

Rwanda: Uwinkindi in Court Today

GENOCIDE suspect Jean Bosco Uwinkindi, who was transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) four months ago, is expected to make his second appearance before court today.

Prosecution Spokesman Alain Mukuralinda said the suspect will appear before the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court.

Uwinkindi, a former pastor with the Pentecostal Church in Kanzenze, Bugesera in the former Kigali-Rural Prefecture, is accused of unleashing killers on thousands of Tutsi refugees, including members of his church, during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

According to a distinctive law concerning the transfer of Genocide suspects to Rwanda by ICTR, Uwinkindi is supposed to be tried by a special chamber of the High Court.

The appearance before the Nyarugenge court is procedural but the case will only go to the specialised chamber for substantive hearing after issues such as provisional release are dealt with.

He is detained at the special transit facility at Kigali Central Prison, designated for suspects transferred from the ICTR or other jurisdictions.

Since being granted four months to prepare his defence, Uwinkindi has refused to respond to questions from the prosecution.

The special transfer law, under which Uwinkindi will be tried, grants the accused the right to remain silent and they can always speak through their lawyers.

In his case, Uwinkindi is represented by Gatera Gashabana, a locally based defence attorney.

"Uwinkindi continuously refused to talk to us; we hope he will cooperate in court," said Mukuralinda.

The decision to transfer Uwinkindi to Rwanda was first made in June 2011 by the tribunal's referral chamber, and later upheld by the appeals chamber, after the Rwandan judiciary was found competent enough to handle cases of international calibre.

Uwinkindi is charged with three counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

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