Arusha, July 30th, '99 (FH) - The UN Appeals Court has ordered the Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to assign Canadian lawyer John Philpot as lead counsel for former Rwandan mayor and genocide convict Jean-Paul Akayesu, the independant news agency Hirondelle reported on Friday. The court said this should be effective from September 22nd, 1998, "the date on which the Registry placed Mr.

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Philpot on the list of approved counsel". It further directed the Registrar to reimburse Philpot "for any eligible work performed since 22 September 1998 in relation to the Appellant's appeal". The ruling ends a long-running battle between Akayesu and the ICTR registry over who will take his case to appeal. Akayesu has been demanding Philpot. But ICTR officials have been refusing to hire him on the grounds that there are already too many Canadian lawyers at the ICTR. They also charge Philpot with being disrespectful to the court. The court in Arusha sentenced Akayesu to life imprisonment for genocide on September 2nd, 1998. He has taken his case to the Appeals Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, but the case has been held up because of an 11-month deadlock over his defence. Announcing a temporary ban on both French and Canadian lawyers, ICTR officials said the suspects in their custody had no absolute right to choose their counsel. But Akayesu and many of the 37 other suspects awaiting trial on genocide charges in the United Nations jail called the ban discriminatory. After staging an eight-day hunger strike last October in protest, Akayesu has refused to accept any other lawyer and maintained that his right to a fair trial rests with his ability to be defended by the lawyer of his choice. In April, a brief signed by ICTR Registrar Agwu Okali accused Akayesu of "trying to paralyze the judicial proceedings indefinitely" or to "discredit the court". It said his dismissal of successive lawyers had cost the court a fortune. Explaining its July 27th decision in favour of Akayesu, the Appeals Court said Philpot was included on the registry's list of approved counsel from which an accused may choose and that "the Registrar thereby gave the Appellant a legitimate expectation that Mr. Philpot would be assigned to represent him before the Tribunal". The ruling should now allow Akayesu's appeal to go ahead. The Appeals Court set October 25th as the date by which defence and prosecution must file their briefs. Akayesu was convicted of participating in the massacres of thousands of ethnic Tutsis in the Rwandan town of Taba, where he was mayor. He denies playing any role in the 1994 genocide which left up to one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead. JC/FH (AK§0730e)