Arusha, May 18th, 2000 (FH) - Rwanda on Thursday asked to adjourn the hearing of its request to appear as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case against genocide suspect Théoneste Bagosora and others, initially scheduled for Thursday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). According to a letter read out in court by Russian judge Yakov Ostrovsky, Kigali suggests that the hearing be cancelled, but says this does not mean it has withdrawn its request.

1 min 14Approximate reading time

The Rwandan government, it says, "maintains the right to submit another amicus curiae request at an opportune moment". The request dated from April 20th, 1998, and was signed by the former Justice Minister Faustin Ntezilyayo, who is now in exile in the United States. Kigali was asking the ICTR "to order the restitution of property stolen, looted and taken away by the accused; to return the property or any proceeds derived from them to their real owners". Rwanda asked the court to take "all provisional measures necessary for safeguarding the interests of the victims". In its amicus curiae request, the government of Rwanda also asked that it be allowed to "contribute to the production of evidence by calling additional witnesses and producing the other evidence authorized under the Rules". Kigali says Bagosora and his co-accused looted and took away: "Public records of the Government of Rwanda belonging to the Ministry of Defence; Movables, particularly medicines, rolling stock, airplanes and factory equipment, which belonged to the Republic of Rwanda and to individuals; Funds and other transferable securities stolen from the public and private financial institutions or extorted from the NGOs and individuals". Bagosora was advisor (chef de cabinet) to the Rwandan defence ministry, and is seen as one of the main architects of the 1994 genocide. The prosecution wants to try him with three senior commanders in the former Rwandan army: Anatole Nsengiyumva, Aloys Ntabakuze and Gratien Kabiligi. No date has yet been set for their trial. AT/JCFH (BG%0518E)