Arusha, November 6th, '99 (FH) - The Rwandan Government has denounced the decision to release the former director of political affairs at the foreign office, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, according to an official report broadcast on Radio Rwanda on Saturday morning. During a cabinet meeting held on Friday, members of the government "vehemently condemned the decision", stating that "Barayagwiza was known to be one of the planners of the genocide who called on populations to massacre others", according to a broadcast on Rwandan radio picked up from Arusha by the independent news agency Hirondelle.

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In a decision handed down on November 3rd, the Appeals Court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ordered the immediate release of the accused and instructed the registrar to ensure that all measures are taken to hand him over to the authorities in Cameroon, where he was transferred on November 19, 1997. The ICTR based its decision on irregularities observed in the legal proceedings during Barayagwiza's detention in Cameroon and after his transfer to the Arusha tribunal. "The Rwandan people cannot tolerate this decision, which was the result of complete incompetence by the prosecution" argued the council of ministers, adding that they feared other accused may well try and use the ruling to obtain their release. Members of the cabinet also pointed out that that if the Appeals Chamber did not reconsider its decision, the Rwandan Government "would take other measures". The radio did not give any further details. The Rwandan representative to the ICTR, formerly prosecutor of Butare (southern Rwanda), Martin Ngoga, also joined in the criticism. "There is no reason why the ICTR prosecution should not respect trial proceedings as laid down by the law" he told Rwandan Radio. He added, "The appeals court did not take into account the gravity of the crimes of which Barayagwiza is accused". Considered by the prosecution as an ideologist of the anti-Tutsi party the 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. On Wednesday the Appeals Chamber declared the indictment against him null and void. AT/FH (BR§1106A)