Arusha, May 23, 2001 (FH) - Prosecutors on Wednesday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to order that a defence investigator arrested on suspicion of genocide should surrender to them any case documents in his possession. The oral request came during the trial of former Cyangugumilitary leader Samuel Imanishimwe, in progress before the ICTR.

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Investigator Siméon Nshamihigo was arrested on May 19th by Tanzanian authorities at the request of the ICTR Prosecutor. According to the ICTR, Nshamihigo was deputy-prosecutor in Cyangugu during the genocide. At the time of his arrest, he was working for Imanishimwe's defence team, under an assumed name and using a Congolese passport. Imanishimwe is on trial with former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki and former Transport Minister André Ntagerura. Prosecutor Richard Karegyesa of Uganda told the court that investigator Nshamihigo should submit to the prosecution all redacted witness statements and any other documents that he may be holding concerning the trial. However, Imanishimwe's Cameroonian defence counsel Marie-Louise Mbida argued that any material that might be taken from the investigator should be returned to the defence. She said that a neutral person should conduct a search. The documents, she added "could not be any other than that prosecution has disclosed to the defence". Mbida earlier told the court that she had "absolutely nothing to say" on the subject of Nshamihigo. "Mr President, I learned, as you did, that my investigator is in custody awaiting trial," she said. "I did not know whatwas going on. "Mbida also said that she did not usually disclose what the prosecution gave her to investigators. "As far as evidence is concerned, I do not give it to them," she told the court. In response, Karegyesa said prosecution was "surprised that Mbida expresses ignorance" about the arrest. He added that "prosecution is apprehensive that (his) continued possession of documents exposes past and present witnesses" and that "the said material may fall into unsafe hands". The Chamber will give a ruling later Wednesday. This case is before the ICTR's Trial Chamber Three, composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. Meanwhile, the testimony of the 36th prosecution witness, dubbed "LCJ" to protect her identity, continued in closed session. SW/JC/FH (CY0523e)