Arusha, February 1, 2000 (FH) - The Appeal Court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has ordered the assignment of a new defence team to genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, ahead of a crucial hearing now scheduled for February 22nd. In a decision dated January 31st the court ordered the ICTR Registry to remove Kenyan lawyer Justry Nyaberi from the case and assign "a new counsel and co-counsel".

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Barayagwiza had accused Nyaberi of fraud and incompetence. The Registrar and president of the ICTR had, however, turned down his request for a new lawyer, saying that he had not proven "exceptional circumstances" as required by ICTR rules. Nyaberi has been representing Barayagwiza since December 1997. On November 3rd 1999, the Appeal Court 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. However, the Prosecutor requested a review of the decision on the basis that she had "new facts". The Appeal Court, normally based in The Hague (Netherlands) is to sit in Arusha later this month. It was originally due to hear the Prosecutor's review request on february 15th, but this date has now been changed to February 22nd. The Appeals Court has given Barayagwiza, "assisted by his new counsel", until February 17th to respond to the Prosecutor's request . That response will, says the court, replace the response filed by Nyaberi. If the deadline is not met, the court will proceed on the basis of Nyaberi's document. The Appeals Court gave the Prosecutor until February 21st to respond to any new document from Barayagwiza's defence. The Rwandan government has also asked to appear as amicus curiae (friend of the court) at the February 15th hearing. Rwanda suspended cooperation with the ICTR after the Appeals Court decision ordering that Barayagwiza should be released and sent back to Cameroon where he was arrested. Barayagwiza was a founder of the hate radio Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines, which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis, and of the extremist CDR political party. He was also policy advisor to the foreign ministry of the Rwandan interim government which presided over the 1994 genocide. JC/FH (BR%0201e)