Arusha, November 18th, '99 (FH) - Top Rwandan genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza on Thursday withdrew a motion blocking implementation of a UN Appeal Court order for his immediate release. Barayagwiza's Kenyan defence lawyer Justry Nyaberi told Hirondelle news agency that his client could now be released and sent to Cameroon "whenever the Registry [of the ICTR] is available".

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On November 3rd, the Appeal Court of the ICTR, based in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered Barayagwiza's immediate release on the grounds that procedures had been repeatedly violated during his initial detention in Cameroon and after his transfer to the ICTR detention facility in Arusha on November 19, 1997. The Appeal Court ordered the ICTR Registry to take measures to return Barayagwiza to Cameroon. However, on November 5th, Nyaberi filed a motion staying that order, and requesting that his client be allowed to choose where he was sent. The motion said that Barayagwiza had no guarantees of security or of any income in Cameroon. That motion has, however, now been withdrawn. The notice of withdrawal explains that: "the Prosecutor is obviously trying to misuse the Defence's motion with the objective of re-examining the content of the Appeals Chamber decision, changing the nature of the Appeals Chamber decision [and] prolonging the ordeal of the Appellant by continuing his detention". It says that "the Appellant prays therefore the Appeal Chamber to take due note of this withdrawal and to direct that its decision of 3rd November 1999 be implemented in toto without any further delay. "Asked whether his client had resolved his potential difficulties in Cameroon, Nyaberi said they could be resolved once he arrived. "Considering all the other issues, we have come to the conclusion that Cameroon is the best place for him to go," he told Hirondelle. Nyaberi would not say if he had been in talks with the Cameroonian authorities. Asked, however, if his client could face arrest there, he said "he won't be arrested". Rwanda on November 6th issued an international arrest warrant for Barayagwiza. Nyaberi reminded Hirondelle, however, that the Cameroonian Court of Appeal had, on February 21st, 1997, rejected a Rwandan request for extradition and ordered Barayagwiza's release. He said, however, that his client did not fear the law. "If the allegations are of genocide, well that is an international crime," Nyaberi continued. "He could be prosecuted anywhere. But my client is ready to confront any judicial authority, provided there is fairness in trials. "Asked when his client would leave the UN detention facility, Nyaberi said that "in so far as the motion has been withdrawn, there is nothing outstanding. It could be tomorrow. "Barayagwiza was policy advisor to the foreign ministry of the Rwandan interim government that presided over the 1994 genocide. He was on the steering committee of the hate radio Radio Television des Mille Collines and a leading member of the hardline Hutu political party CDR. Barayagwiza was charged with seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide and crimes against humanity including looting. He was expected to be tried along with two other defendants in a "/media mega-trial". The UN Appeal Court decision to release him has caused the Rwandan government to suspend cooperation with the ICTR. Rwandans have also staged demonstrations in the past few days to protest against the decision. JC/FH (BR§1118e)