Arusha, November 26th, '99 (FH) - The Kenyan lawyer for Rwandan genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza says the latest order staying an Appeal Court decision to free his client is "a nullity". Justry Nyaberi told Hirondelle that he intended to challenge the Appeal Court's latest order on the grounds that, when it was issued, the court appeared not to have received a defence document challenging the composition of the court.

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On November 3rd, the Appeal Court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ordered Barayagwiza's release, on the grounds that procedures had been repeatedly violated during his initial detention in Cameroon, and after his transfer to the ICTR prison in Arusha, Tanzania. The decision caused Rwanda to suspend cooperation with the ICTR. On November 19th, new Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said she planned to file for a review of the decision on the basis of "new facts". The Appeal Court has now frozen its release order and given the Prosecutor seven days to file her request. However, Barayagwiza is challenging the competence of the Appeal Court to handle the matter, saying it is not the same court that made the November 3rd decision. Judge Gabrielle Kirk MacDonald of the United States has since been replaced as President by Judge Claude Jorda of France. Barayagwiza's defence also accuses the Prosecutor of acting for political motives and trying to please the government of Rwanda. Prosecutor Del Ponte arrived in Arusha on Tuesday, hoping to visit her office in Rwanda. However, Kigali has so far refused her a visa. Barayagwiza was a founder of the hate radio Radio Télévision des Mille Collines, which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis, and of the hardline Hutu political party CDR. He was also foreign policy advisor to the Rwandan interim government that presided over the genocide. Despite the release order, Barayagwiza is still being held in the UN detention facility in Arusha. The ICTR Registry says it is awaiting a response from the government of Cameroon on whether and how it can take him back . Barayagwiza on Thursday began a hunger strike, demanding to be released. Official sources say he is, however, drinking water. JC/FH (BR§1126f)