Arusha, May 20, 2001 (FH) Official sources at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Sunday confirmed the arrest of one of the Tribunal's own defence investigators on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide. "I can confirm that there was an arrest, that it was a defence investigator using the name Sami Bahati and that that was an assumed name," said ICTR chief of Press and Information Tom Kennedy.

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The suspect had been using a Congolese passport. Kennedy said that the suspect was an investigator for the defence team of Samuel Imanishimwe, the former commander of Cyangugu military barracks in southwest Rwanda whose genocide trial is currently before the Tribunal. He also confirmed that the suspect's real name is Simeon Nshamihigo. Nshamihigo, according to Tribunal sources, was the Cyangugu state prosecutor at the time of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Kennedy said the arrest had followed an ICTR request to the host state, Tanzania. The suspect was first held on Saturday by two UN security officers "somewhere in our premises" and then arrested by Tanzanian police, Kennedy told Hirondelle. He said Nshamihigo was still in the hands of the Tanzanian police, pending his formal handover to the ICTR. Kennedy said the ICTR Prosecutor would on Monday make an application to a judge for provisional detention of the suspect, under Rule 40 bis of the Tribunal's Rules of Procedure and Evidence. This Rule allows provisional detention of a suspect for an initial period of 30 days, which can be renewed by the court. "The total period of provisional detention shall in no case exceed 90 days," says the Rule, "at the end of which, in the event the indictment has not been confirmed and an arrest warrant signed, the suspect shall be released or, if appropriate, be delivered to the authorities of the State to which the request was initially made. "Informed sources said the suspect had first been identified by a witness in another case and that the ICTR Prosecutor already had a file on him at that time. Neither the defence lawyer who hired him nor the ICTR spokesman were available for comment on Sunday. The news comes after Rwanda in March complained that some investigators working for defence teams at the ICTR were genocide fugitives. Two other investigators currently working for Tribunal defence teams appear on Rwanda's Category One list of top genocide suspects. The ICTR maintains that it does screen defence investigators, who are hired under contract by defence lawyers. It says security screening considers but does not depend on the Rwandan government's Category One list. Defence counsels at the ICTR recruit their investigators but require approval from the Tribunal. As all detainees currently have indigent status, the ICTR Registry is responsible for paying fees of defence teams. JC/PHD/FH (NG0520f)