UN’s Rwanda war crimes tribunal denies transfer of genocide case to Norway

22 May 2006 – The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has denied a bid to transfer a genocide case to Norway, arguing that the country lacks specific laws on cases of war crimes.

The case involves former Rwandan business official Michael Bogaragaza who is suspected of planning to fund, arm and train a militia to carry out attacks on Tutsi civilians in 1994.

Prosecutors wanted the ICTR to transfer Mr. Bogaragaza’s case to Norway on the grounds that it would provide for wider understanding of how genocide can happen.

The suspect, who surrendered to the Tribunal last year in August, denies the charges of his involvement in the genocide. He is currently being held in a UN detention unit in the Netherlands.

Before his surrender, Mr. Bogoragaza had entered into an agreement with the prosecution. He provided an extensive statement on the genocide which incriminated himself and other Rwandans. The accused supports the prosecution’s view that he should be tried in a national court.

The ruling is subject to appeal by both parties within next two weeks, the Tribunal officials said in a statement issued in Arusha, Tanzania, where the court is based. Mr. Bogaragaza is represented by defence lawyer Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops from The Netherlands.

The Tribunal was established by the UN Security Council to prosecute individuals responsible for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Rwanda in 1994, when at least 800,000 people were massacred, mostly butchered with machetes, for being ethnic Tutsis or Hutu moderates.

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