Arusha, February 6, 2001(FH) The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday granted leave for the defence lawyers of genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza to withdraw from the case, and ordered the ICTR Registry to assign him another one. Barayagwiza has been boycotting his trial since it began on October 23rd, and ordered his lawyers to do the same.

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The accused argues that the ICTR is manipulated by the “dictatorial anti-Hutu regime in Kigali” and that he does not want to be party to a “mockery of justice”. In a first ruling on November 2nd, 2000, the Court denied Barayagwiza’s lawyers permission to leave the courtroom on the grounds that their instructions from the accused did not amount to a clear and unequivocal revocation of their mandate. Since then, his defence has been in court, but not taken an active part in the trial. Both lead counsel Carmelle Marchessault of Canada and co-counsel David Danielson of the US argued that it would be against the rules of their Bar Associations to contravene the instructions of their client, and had requested leave to withdraw from the case. In the meantime, as the court noted, “Barayagwiza has now taken steps to formalize his instructions to his counsels more clearly”. Presiding judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa said the Trial Chamber noted that Barayagwiza had now terminated their mandates. She said it therefore directed the ICTR Registry to withdraw the assignment of Marchessault and Danielson. Also, it ordered the Registry to immediately appoint another counsel to provide legal assistance to Barayagwiza, in line with the ICTR’s concern to ensure “fair trials and render justice”. “We further recall that Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza is entitled to make use of the services of such a counsel and is further entitled to represent himself in court at any time,” said Judge Pillay. The court ordered Barayagwiza’s lawyers to hand to the Registry all documents relating to the case, or any confidential material to their ex-client. In a “press release” of February 5th, Barayagwiza restated his decision to boycott the trial. “I maintain my decision to withdraw any mandate of representation to this trial from my Counsels,” he wrote. “No other Counsel is entitled to represent me at this parody of justice under any pretext. I thus denounce the idea of assigning the so-called Counsel ‘in the interests of justice’ since there is no justice in this Tribunal. He will represent only the Judges, of whom 2 out of 3 took themselves the serious decision to remain seized of my case in spite of the serious legitimate suspicion which hangs on them…” Barayagwiza says the judges are partial because they visited Rwanda in August last year, just before the start of the trial, and that their talks included a meeting with the current Rwandan President Paul Kagame. In November 1999, the ICTR Appeals Court ordered Barayagwiza’s release on the grounds that his rights were continually violated during initial detention and transfer to Arusha, but the Court reversed its decision after the Rwandan government suspended its cooperation with the Tribunal and the Prosecutor presented “new facts”. Barayagwiza’s ex-defence team say they conducted investigations in Cameroon, where the accused was initially detained, and that the Prosecutor’s “new facts” were based on false documents. Barayagwiza was director of political affairs in the foreign ministry of the former Rwandan government, founder of the hardline pro-Hutu CDR party and a founder member of Radio Télévision Libre des Milles Collines (RTLM) which allegedly incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide. He is being tried with two other suspects linked to so-called hate media in Rwanda: Ferdinand Nahimana, ex-director of RTLM, and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the newspaper Kangura. Ngeze has also been boycotting the trial since it resumed on Monday. His lawyer, John Floyd of the US, has submitted a motion to have all charges against Ngeze dropped, on grounds that his rights have been grossly violated. On Monday, Floyd argued heatedly for an evidentiary hearing into a UN security raid on Ngeze’s prison cell, in which he says vital defence documents, including witness statements and photographs, were stolen or otherwise made useless to the defence. The court said it hoped to make a decision by the end of Tuesday on whether or not to allow such a hearing. The trial is being conducted by Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Judge Erik Mose of Norway and Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardena of Sri Lanka. JC/MBR/FH (ME_0206e)