26 March 2012 –
The United Nations tribunal trying key suspects implicated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda today ordered the case of an indicted suspect who remains at large be referred to the Rwandan High Court for trial.
The referral chamber of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ordered that the case regarding Charles Sikubwabo, the suspect, be referred to the authorities in Rwanda who will in turn send it for trial by the High Court.
Mr. Sikubwabo, a former mayor of Gishyita in the western Kibuye prefecture, is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, as well as conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. In November 2010, the ICTR’s Prosecutor had requested that the court refer the case to Rwanda.
In today’s announcement, judges ordered that Mr. Sikubwabo’s case be handed over to the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda, as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the ICTR decision has become final.
The referral chamber expressed its hope that Rwanda, in accepting referrals from the ICTR, will put into practice commitments it has made about its good faith, capacity and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international justice in the referred cases.
The ICTR judges requested Rwanda to provide the tribunal or the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals with quarterly reports on efforts taken to apprehend Mr. Sikubwabo until the time when the accused is arrested or Rwanda receives news and confirmation of his death.
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 death of the then-president Juvenal Habyarimana.