Arusha, June 7th, 2000 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has granted a prosecution request to have genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza re-joined to the trial of two other suspects linked to the hate-media in Rwanda. In a decision dated June 6th, Trial Chamber One of the ICTR dismissed defence arguments that Barayagwiza could not be re-joined to the "media trial" because there was no valid indictment against him.

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The Chamber ruled that although a revised Appeals Court ruling on the Barayagwiza case did not specifically reinstate his indictment, it had done so implicitly. Barayagwiza was foreign policy advisor to the interim government that presided over the 1994 genocide. He was also a founder of the hardline Hutu party CDR and the hate-radio Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis. He is to be tried with former RTLM director Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze, who was editor of the extremist newspaper Kangura and prominent member of the CDR. Prosecutors had planned to try them together, but an Appeals Court ruling in November ordered Barayagwiza's release on procedural grounds and the dismissal of his indictment "with prejudice to the Prosecutor". In an exceptional and controversial case, the Appeals Court revised this decision on March 31st, authorizing his trial by the ICTR. The Trial Chamber dismissed defence arguments that joinder would cause further delay, rather than speeding up the trials of the three accused. The decision points out that the date for start of trial has been put back from June 5th, and will not now start until September 18th. "Therefore, the Chamber is of the view," it said, "that granting the present motion for joinder of Barayagwiza will not unduly delay the trial of the accused persons. "The Court granted a defence request for waiver of time limits to file preliminary motions. Barayagwiza was given an extension of 30 days from the date of the June 6th decision. On the facts justifying joinder, the Chamber said it was satisfied that "a sufficient basis has been established to support the assertion that Barayagwiza, Nahimana and Ngeze were involved in a number of acts or omissions being part of a common scheme, strategy or plan, committed in the course of the same transaction and that "in the interests of the good administration of justice, co-conspirators should generally be tried together". The three were originally to be tried with Belgian former RTLM presenter Georges Ruggiu, who changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment on June 1st this year. Ruggiu is now expected to testify against the other three. JC/FH (BR%0607e)