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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Landmarks at the ICTR

Peter Depew - Kigali, Rwanda.

The last few weeks have been ground-breaking and fast moving for Rwandan jurisprudence. In late June, the first woman in history was convicted of genocide. The former minister for family and women affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, was convicted of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity which included rape.

Shortly after that landmark, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda approved the first ever transfer of an indicted person from the UN court in Arusha, Tanzania to the national judiciary in Rwanda, in the case of Pentecostal Church Pastor and suspected genocidaire Jean Uwinkindi. The ICTR had previously denied transfers based on the perceived inability of the accused to receive a fair trial in Rwanda and the inadequacies of witness protection in Rwanda. The transfer is generally viewed as an affirmation of the progress of the Rwandan judiciary. This may also lead to the extradition of indicted fugitives in Europe who have avoided extradition on human rights grounds, much to the consternation of the Rwandan government.