Arusha, January 24, 2000 (FH) - Rwandan genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza said on Monday he was appealing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) decision that he should keep the lawyer he wants to replace. Barayagwiza also accused his lawyer, Justry Nyaberi of Kenya, of fraud.

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"Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza has information that his counsel was involved in fraudulent and dishonest practices, to the detriment of the Defence and certain members of the Defence," he said in a press statement. Barayagwiza called on the ICTR Registry to conduct a swift investigation into "false declarations by Mr Nyaberi concerning his work schedule and his swindling of investigators". The press statement came in reaction to a decision last week by ICTR President Judge Navanethem Pillay (South Africa), rejecting Barayagwiza's demand that he be assigned a new counsel to represent him at a crucial Appeals Court hearing in February. The ICTR Appeals Court, normally based in The Hague (Netherlands), is due to sit in Arusha on February 15th to hear the Prosecutor's request for a review of its November 3rd decision to release Barayagwiza on procedural grounds. The release order has been stayed pending the hearing. In a decision dated January 19th, ICTR President Pillay concluded that "no exceptional circumstance has been made out to warrant a change of counsel, for purposes of the Review proceeding", and that it was in the best interests of justice that Barayagwiza retain Nyaberi. She thus confirmed an earlier decision by the court Registrar. Barayagwiza says he submitted that Nyaberi was guilty of "incompetence, dishonesty, disloyalty [and] lack of diligence", which he said should certainly constitute exceptional circumstances. "The practice of this Tribunal regarding withdrawal of Counsel shows that the Client's loss of confidence in his Counsel is alone enough to be considered as an exceptional circumstance. However, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza is arguing not only loss of confidence, but also -- and especially -- incompetence and the commission of serious professional faults. "Barayagwiza also notes that the ICTR President, in her decision, failed to respond to his request that, in the absence of a new defence counsel, he be allowed to represent himself. He says he is wondering "whether people do not want him to have a weak defence lawyer in the person of Nyaberi, or to find himself alone on February 15, 2000 against a coalition of the Government of Kigali and the Prosecutor". The Rwandan government has 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 Cemeroon where he was arrested. The Appeals Court decision was based on the finding that proceedings had been repeatedly violated during Barayagwiza's initial detention in Cameroon and after his transfer to the ICTR prison in Arusha. New Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte is seeking a review of the decision on grounds that she has "new facts". 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%0124f)