Arusha, October 19th, '99 (FH) - Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday requested leave to amend the indictment against Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, former policy advisor to the Rwandan foreign ministry. Barayagwiza is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.

1 min 47Approximate reading time

His current indictment contains six charges, and dates from October 22nd, 1997. Speaking for the prosecution, William Egbe of Ghana told the court that the amendment request was because of fresh evidence gathered since October 1997. He said the prosecution wanted to add three new charges: crimes against humanity (extermination), outrages to human dignity and looting. The last two charges are to be brought as serious violations of the Geneva Conventions on war crimes. The prosecution also wants to add new elements in suppport of its exisiting charge of conspiracy to commit genocide. "We want to include all the evidence that we have gathered," Egbe told the court. He said the prosecution also plans to better demonstrate the direct responsibility of the accused as a person in a position of responsibility. At the time referred to in the indictment, Barayagwiza was president of the anti-Tutsi party Coalition pour la Defense de la Republique (CDR) in the Gisenyi prefecture of northwest Rwanda. He was also a member of the steering committee of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), an extremist radio station. Barayagwiza's Kenyan lawyer, Justry Patrice Lumumba Nyaberi, urged the court not to grant the amendment request. He said the prosecution had not produced any new facts or was referring to events that occurred outside the period of the ICTR's jurisdiction. The Tribunal is mandated to judge serious violations of international humanitarian law committed between January 1st and December 31st, 1994. Egbe, for the prosecution, responded that "conspiracy is a charge which extends over time". He said acts of conspiracy to commit genocide may have been committed before 1994 but continued into that year. Barayagwiza was arrested in March 1996 in Cameroon and transferred the ICTR detention facility in Arusha in November 1997. The prosecution wants to amend his indictment so as to join his case to that of two other accused in a "/media mega-trial". According to the prosecution, the extremist media played a crucial rôle in stirring ethnic hatred and inciting genocide in Rwanda. The two other accused are Ferdinand Nahimana, former director of RTLM, and Hassan Ngeze, the former editor of extremist newspaper Kangura. On Monday, the prosecution filed for leave to amend Ngeze's indictment, adding three new charges including conspiracy to commit genocide. It is due to request similar leave for Nahimana's indictment on Tuesday afternoon. Prosecutors originally wanted to include Italo-Belgian former RTLM presenter Georges Ruggiu in the planned media trial. However, this plan now appears to have been dropped. Informed sources say Ruggiu is in the throes of confessing to prosecutors. AT/JC/FH (BR§1019e)