Arusha, November 6th, 2000 (FH) - American lawyer David Danielson on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that his ethics prevented him from continuing to defend genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, who is boycotting his own trial and has ordered his lawyers todo the same. The court ordered the assignment of a new co-counsel to replace Danielson, but granted lead counsel Carmelle Marchessault of Canada more time to hear from her Bar whether she should continue defending the suspect.

1 min 58Approximate reading time

The court had previously denied requests from the lawyers first toleave the courtroom, and then to withdraw from the case. Barayagwiza says he wants nothing to do with his trial because it will not be fair. He claims that the ICTR is manipulated by the current regime in Kigali. The suspect has been absent from his trial since October 23rd when it started. However, the court denied his defence lawyers permission to leave the courtroom. They then submitted a motion to withdraw from the case, saying they had been forced to do so because they were no longer able to follow their client's instructions. That request was also denied. "With the greatest respect to this court, I simply cannot go forward and offer a defence against his [Barayagwiza's] explicit instructions," Danielson told the judges. He said the situation was clear with regard to the code of ethics of his own Bar (Seattle, USA) and that there were also personal reasons pertaining to confidentiality. But, he added, he was speaking only for himself. Marchessault told the court that its decision had put her at risk of "violating two codes". "I have to follow the instructions of my client but also of the court and the provisions of the ICTR code, " she said, addingthat the situation was difficult both for the court and the lawyers. "I think the best solution would be that you agree to suspend implementation of your decision [ordering the lawyers to continue defending Barayagwiza in court] so as to allow us to obtain detailed responses from our Bars. ""The court finds your request reasonable," presiding Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa responded. But she refused a request from Marchessault that hearings be suspended pending the lawyer's decision. "As far as the court is concerned, you continue as you have done this lastweek, taking a passive role in the courtroom," Pillay said. Barayagwiza was policy advisor to the interim government that presided over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He was also a founder of the Hutu extremist CDR political party and of the radio station Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). Barayagwiza is being tried with two other suspects linked to so-called hate media which incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the genocide: Ferdinand Nahimana, who was director of RTLM, and Hassan Ngeze, who was editor of the newspaper Kangura. The trial continued Monday with the hearing of the second prosecution witness, a former journalist with both Radio Rwanda and Kangura. The witness, dubbed AHA to protect his identity, has been transferred from a Rwandan jail where he has been detained for the last seven years. JC/FH (ME%1106e)