Arusha, November 6th, '99 (FH) - The former director of political affairs at the Rwandan foreign office, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, recently freed by the appeals court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, has asked to be allowed to choose which country he will be sent to following his release, Hirondelle reports on Saturday. The appeals court earlier instructed the ICTR Registrar to ensure that Barayagwiza was handed over to the Cameroon authorities, where he was transferred in November 1997.

1 min 27Approximate reading time

On Friday, his lawyer Patrice Justry Lumumba Nyaberi asked the court to grant his client the freedom to choose an alternative destination. The request filed by Mr Nyaberi - of which the independent news agency Hirondelle has obtained a copy - states that Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza's family are no longer living in Cameroon, as was the case in 1997. As a result, the Kenyan lawyer explained that his client would have difficulty finding accommodation, food, clothing and employment as well as access to basic health care. As a destitute person, his client would "have no means of escaping the torture from which the appeals court has freed him" pleaded his lawyer. Mr Nyaberi added that Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza has no legal status in Cameroon and that, in addition, the security of his client could not be guaranteed in Cameroon. Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza is the second prisoner to be released by the ICTR, following that of the former head of logistics at the Kigali military camp, Major Bernard Ntuyahaga, last March. The appeals chamber announced its annulment of the indictment against Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza on Wednesday. Portrayed by the prosecution as an ideological brains behind the anti-Tutsi party, Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR), and a director of the extremist Mille Collines radio (RTLM), Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza previously faced seven counts for genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, including pillaging. The judges considered that, in the light of the rights of the accused as laid down by the ICTR statute and other international instruments, the Prosecutor had failed in his duty to have him transferred to the ICTR prison within the required time period. The appeals chamber also found that "the initial appearance of Barayagwiza, ninety six days after his transfer, violated his right to a trial without undue delay". CR/AT/FH (BR§1106B)