Arusha, June 13, 2000 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has ruled to reject an appeal lodged by lawyers of Laurent Semanza seeking to have his arrestand detention declared null and void on grounds of illegality. Semanza, the former mayor of Bicumbi commune in rural Kigali, was arrested and detained in similar circumstances as those of the controversial genocide suspect Jean Bosco Barayagwiza.

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Barayagwiza had initially been ordered released by the Tribunal after the Appeals Chamber found that his rights had been repeatedly violated during his arrest and detention. However, the Prosecution sought a review of the judgement by presenting new evidence to the fact that the detention had not been out of negligence on its part. Semanza's and Barayagwiza's appeals were both heard by the Chamber earlier this year in February. Semanza's lawyers said that the former mayor had been detained for more than the legally provided 30 days in Cameroon at the request of ICTR prosecutors without an indictment or warrant of arrest. They pointed out that the prosecution actually filed charges six months late. They also pointed out that their client had stayed excessively long before being transferred from Cameroon to the Tribunal and even then, stayed for a longer time before appearing in a court to plead to the charges. Although the court found that Semanza's rights had been violated, it denied his request to be set at liberty on the grounds of his prolonged pre-trial detention in Cameroon . The judges , however, ruled that he was entitled to reparations for the violation of his rights. Consequently, Semanza will stand trial and if found not be reduced to compensate for the violation of his rights. The decision was similar in many respects to that rendered by the Appeal Chamber on March 31 in reviewing their decision to free Jean Bosco Barayagwiza. In that decision the Chamber, while also acknowledging that Barayagwiza's rights had been violated, ordered a similar remedy in place of their initial decision to free him. Commenting on the decision, the Tribunal's spokes person Kingsley Moghalu said that ' it reflected the balance of the court in of the accused and the gravity of the charges against him. Semanza is charged with 14 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He is accused of inciting militiamen to rape Tutsi women before killing them and of cutting off a man's arm during the 1994 genocide. MK/CR/FH (SE%0613e)