Arusha, 11th January 2000 (FH) - Rwandan genocide suspect Jean Bosco Barayagwiza has asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to dismiss his Kenyan lawyer Justry Lumumba Nyaberi for incompetence, the independent news agency Hirondelle reported on Tuesday. His move comes as the ICTR Appeals Court prepares to hear a request for a review of its November decision ordering Barayagwiza's release on procedural grounds.

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Barayagwiza was a founder of the hardline Hutu CDR party and extremist radio station Radio Télévision des Mille Collines which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis. In a letter dated January 6th, Barayagwiza asked the president of the ICTR to order Nyaberi's dismissal and the assignment of another lawyer to the accused. "I ask you to take account of my decision to defend myself, pending the appointment of new counsels who should be more dedicated and more competent," Barayagwiza said in his letter to South African president Judge Navanethem Pillay. He also asked her to "instruct all services of the Tribunal to reject any document or initiative concerning my defence which does not come from myself, so long as I have not approved it nor agreed to the appointment of a new counsel". Barayagwiza had already requested Nyaberi's dismissal in a letter to the ICTR Registrar on December 16th. This was turned down on grounds that there were no exceptional circumstances, as required by ICTR rules. Barayagwiza is now asking the Tribunal president for a revision of the Registrar's decision. In his December letter, Barayagwiza said that his lawyer was "irresponsible, showed a lack of honesty and tended to do a rushed job, carried out at the last minute without serious research". He claimed that Nyaberi was incompetent, seldom available and did not communicate regularly with his client. He said the lawyer was "more interested in his own financial interests than in the defence of his client". On November 3rd the ICTR Appeals 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, Tanzania. This decision caused the Rwandan government to suspend cooperation with the Tribunal. The Appeals Court froze implementation of the release order, at the request of new Chief Prosecutor Carla del Ponte, who wants the decision reviewed on the basis of "new facts". The Appeals Court will sit in Arusha on February 15th to hear the Prosecutor's request. The accused has proposed two lawyers -- one American and one Canadian -- to replace Nyaberi. Nyaberi told Hirondelle by telephone on Tuesday that the dispute had been "resolved" and that he would continue to ensure Barayagwiza's defence. However, an informed source told Hirondelle that the accused was maintaining his position. BN/JC/FH (BR%0111E)