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Alex Obote-Odora

Abstract

The article examines Rule 11bis on the transfer of cases from the Rwanda Tribunal to domestic jurisdictions. It discusses the criteria for transfer under Rule 11bis and reflects on reasons for the denial of all the Prosecutor’s requests for transfer except in the recent Uwinkindi’s Appeals Chamber decision. The article also examines how the Appeals Chamber resolved the ambiguity between the Death Penalty Law vis-à-vis Imprisonment in Isolation in Munyakazi, on the one hand, and ambiquity in Article 59 of the Rwanda Code of Criminal Procedure (“RCCP”) vis-à-vis Articles 13(10) and 25 of the Transfer Law, on the other hand, opening the way for the transfer of Uwinkindi to Rwanda. The article recognizes the high standards the Appeals Chamber has established for the transfer of cases to domestic jurisdictions and notes that only few States satisfactorily meet these requirements. In sum, the article welcomes the Uwinkindi decision and recognises a positive development in international criminal law and procedure. However, it also cautions that in practice the precedent may not necessarily translate into a flood of cases being transferred to Rwanda because many States will not be able to meet the Rule 11bis high international standards.