(AFP) – Jun 20, 2008
ARUSHA, Tanzania (AFP) — The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has rejected a request to return another genocide suspect to Rwanda on the grounds that he would not receive a fair trial.
Ildephonse Hategekimana, a former captain, is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity including crimes committed by his subordinates.
Hategekimana served as the commander of a small military camp during the 1994 genocide.
The tribunal was not satisfied that Rwanda could ensure Hategekimana would be able to get his defence witnesses to testify under the same conditions as those testifying against him, said the 25-page written judgment.
The judges also expressed concern about the sentence the defendant might face: "Life imprisonment in isolation, in violation of his right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment."
The judges nevertheless said they appreciated "the significant progress" Rwanda had made in improving its judicial system.
Earlier this month, the tribunal also refused to return former businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, to Rwanda, arguing it was not satisfied he would receive a fair trial.
And a week before that ruling, they reached a similar decision in the case of another suspect, businessman Yussuf Munyakazi.
The public prosecutor is to appeal in both cases.
The ICTR, set to wrap up its mandate by the end of 2008, is in theory supposed to transfer certain suspects to stand trial in their national jurisdictions.
On June 4, ICTR President Dennis Byron and ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow asked the UN Security Council to extend the court's mandate by one year.
Eight suspects are still waiting to stand trial, while another is detained in Germany and 13 are on the run.
The Court has so far sentenced 30 people and acquitted five.
According to UN figures, approximately 800,000 people, mainly ethnic Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, were killed in the Rwandan genocide between April and July of 1994.
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