The Appeals Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today dismissed a motion filed by Mr. Jean Uwinkindi on 17 April 2012 in which he requested a stay of his transfer to Rwanda pending the resolution of a forthcoming second motion for reconsideration containing more detailed submissions that he will not receive a fair trial in the High Court of Rwanda. Mr. Uwinkindi requested seven days in which to file the more detailed motion for reconsideration.
In a decision of 5 April 2012, the President of the ICTR Judge Vagn Joensen requested the Registrar to ensure that the transfer of Mr. Uwinkindi to Rwanda takes place within 14 days. Judge Joensen also directed the Registrar, inter alia, to assign two legal officers from the Tribunal’s Registry or Chambers as interim monitors who will commence monitoring proceedings in Mr. Uwinkindi’s case in Rwanda upon his transfer.
In the motion filed on 17 April 2012, Mr. Uwinkindi’s Defence argued that there was “compelling evidence” that, in the trial of Ms. Victoire Ingabire before the High Court of Rwanda, the national prosecuting authority in Rwanda “has acted in a manner inconsistent with any respect for the defendant’s right to a fair trial” and “the High Court has permitted serious violations of the defendant’s fair trial rights to go unchecked.”
The Defence further submitted that the events relating to Ms. Ingabire’s trial highlighted in the motion raised questions about whether Mr. Uwinkindi will receive a fair trial before the High Court of Rwanda.
In its decision today the Appeals Chamber composed of Judges Theodor Meron, presiding, Patrick Robinson, Mehmet Güney, Andrésia Vaz and Carmel Agius, stated that it considered that the Appeals Chamber had already concluded that the Referral Chamber acted within its discretion in distinguishing Mr. Uwinkindi’s case from other cases in Rwanda.
It also considered that unlike other trials in Rwanda, Mr. Uwinkindi’s trial in Rwanda is subject to monitoring under the authority of the Tribunal and to additional protections and guarantees under Rwandan laws applicable to cases transferred from the Tribunal, and that the referral of his case may be revoked.
Consequently, the Appeals Chamber considered that the Defence had failed to show that either the allegations related to the trial of Ms. Ingabire contained in the motion or additional, more detailed submissions with regard thereto would demonstrate a clear error of reasoning in the Appeals Chamber’s decision of 16 December 2011 or require its reconsideration in the interests of justice.
The Appeals Chamber therefore found that there was no basis for staying the transfer of Mr. Uwinkindi to Rwanda pending the filing and resolution of a further motion for reconsideration.
On 28 June 2011, a chamber of the Tribunal designated under Rule 11bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunalordered that Mr. Uwinkindi’s case be referred to the authorities of the Republic of Rwanda for trial before the High Court of Rwanda. On 16 December 2011, the Appeals Chamber, inter alia, dismissed Mr. Uwinkindi’s appeal against this decision.
On 23 February 2012, the Appeals Chamber dismissed Mr. Uwinkindi’s request for review or reconsideration of the decision of 16 December 2011, but emphasized the Appeals Chamber’s clear expectation that “Mr. Uwinkindi’s transfer would not occur until a monitoring mechanism is in place.”