International Tribunal refers prosecution to Rwanda

The prosecution of Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi, a former Pentecostal pastor, who allegedly led multiple attacks on ethnic Tutsis, including a massacre at Kayenzi Church in July 1994, has been referred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to the Rwanda court system in terms of a UN resolution aimed at empowering national judicial systems to promote the rule of law.

The referral process is modeled after the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which successfully referred thirteen cases to national jurisdictions. When a state maintains a level of juridical competence that protects the rights of the accused, the ICTR may facilitate the transfer of the cases of intermediate and lower-rank individuals (Article 20 of the ICTR statute). A specially designated Trial Chamber assess the state’s compliance with the requirements, which include a fair and public hearing, the presumption of innocence, and the existence of a penal code and penalty structure in line with ICTR standards, including the  prohibition of the death penalty for all referred cases, protection of witnesses, and adequate detention facilities. After granting a referral order, the ICTR transfers prosecution materials and the accused to the state, and may order observers to monitor and report on the proceedings and facilities. The referral may be revoked at any time prior to judgment if necessary.

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