The referral chamber of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] on Monday transferred the case of Charles Sikubwabo [Hague Justice profile; case materials] to the High Court of Rwanda. The decision was based on ICTR prosecutors' request [press release; JURIST report] in November for the referral pursuant to Rule 11 bis of the Procedure and Evidence, which authorizes the transfer of cases to appropriate national jurisdictions. Sikubwabo, former mayor of Gishyita in the western Kibuye prefecture, has been charged with genocide, murder, extermination, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He has remained at large. With the decision, the referral chamber requested that the Rwandan government report to the ICTR or the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals on a regular basis until Sikubwabo is apprehended or dead. The transfer of the case to Rwandan jurisdiction will take place within 30 days after the decision becomes final.
The case of Sikubwabo is the last of the three cases that were included in the November application and transferred to the Rwanda government. The first case ever transferred to Rwanda from the ICTR was that of Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi [Hague Justice profile; case materials] which was transferred [JURIST report] to the national court system in June. Uwinkindi was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.[BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. The decision came after the referral chamber found that Rwanda was capable of pursuing the case. In February, the referral chamber transferred [JURIST report] the second case of Fulgence Kayishema [Hague Justice profile; case material] who has been charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crime against humanity.