ARUSHA, Tanzania (AFP) — The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said it had again rejected a request to let a Rwandan genocide suspect stand trial on home soil for fear he will be unfairly tried.
The request concerns former businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, who was arrested July 2004 in South Africa.
The Chamber was "not satisfied that Kanyarukiga will receive a fair trial if transferred," the ICTR said in statement on Monday.
While the Chamber, based in Arusha, Tanzania, said Rwanda had made "notable progress" in improving its judicial system, it had concerns regarding the country's ability to effectively draw on witness testimonies.
For example, the Court questioned how the Rwandan judicial system would be able to call on witnesses living outside the country, as well as those living inside the country who could be afraid to testify.
The ICTR said it was satisfied that the death penalty was recently abolished in Rwanda, but said it had doubts surrounding what Kanyarukiga's treatment in Rwanda would be like were he to be imprisoned.
There was "a risk that Kanyarukiga, if convicted to life imprisonment there, may risk solitary confinement due to unclear legal provisions in Rwanda," said ICTR.
On May 28, the United Nations court refused to transfer another suspect accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, Yussuf Munyakazi, to Rwanda.
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 were killed in the Rwandan genocide between April and July of 1994.
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