Arusha, September 25, 2001 (FH) - Acquitted former mayor Ignace Bagilishema has asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Appeals Court to throw out a Prosecutor's appeal against his acquittal, Bagilishema's lawyer told Hirondelle in a message received Tuesday. "We've lodged a motion to have the Prosecutor's appeal declared inadmissible for lack of grounds," said François Roux of France.

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"As you know, the ICTR's Rules of Procedure and Evidence say that a notice of appeal must set forth the grounds. But we don't think three paragraphs with no details of fact or of law can be considered as having done so. "Bagilishema is the first person to be acquitted of genocide charges by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). On June 7th this year, the court ordered his immediate release, but attached conditions after the Prosecutor announced her intention to appeal and asked that Bagilishema be kept in custody. The conditions include two persons of high moral standing to guarantee that he will turn up in court. He must also hand in his passport and report regularly to the police. Bagilishema has remained in UN custody, as various countries refused requests to take him in. However France, which turned down a first request, last week changed tack and said it would take him. "This decision honours France and is an important step in cooperation between the (UN member) States and the Tribunal," Roux told Hirondelle. "I hope it will set a precedent and that in the future we won't have to wait three months after an acquittal to see the acquitted person set free. The defence team thanks everyone who has worked to get this decision and looks forward to soon seeing Ignace Bagilishema a free man, back with his family. "JC/PHD/FH (BS0925e)