Arusha, July 17, 2001 (FH) - A lawyer for genocide suspect Ferdinand Nahimana said on Tuesday that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) had wrongly identified their defence investigator as a Rwandan genocide suspect and that she hoped the Tribunal would retract its decision to sack him. "We are particularly concerned because the Tribunal is concerned with the administration of justice," Nahimana's British co-counsel Diana Ellis told Hirondelle on Tuesday, "and against a background of undoubted interest by the Rwandans, it is particularly important that the Tribunal shows itself to be independent and not in any way subjected to political pressure.

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And it is impossible to understand how it is that those who are charged with the investigation and administration of justice can fail to make the most basic inquiries. "A statement from ICTR Registrar Adama Dieng said on Monday that four ICTR defence investigators had been fired because they were either on Rwanda's Category One list of top genocide suspects or were under investigation by the Tribunal Prosecutor on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 genocide. The four sacked investigators include Nahimana team member Aloys Ngendahimana, said to be on the Category One list. "It is clear that there is someone of the same name who is on the list and who is alleged to have been involved in the genocide in 1994," Ellis told Hirondelle, "but looking at the details on the list of that person, he is from a different area, his date of birth is different and his occupation is different. These facts were made known by our team some 10 days ago. What concerns and surprises us is that in the last ten days there has been no attempt to make contact with any member of the defence team of Ferdinand Nahimana in order to make inquiries as to the status of our investigator. Ellis said Nahimana's defence team had now written to ICTR Registrar Dieng and Alessandro Calderone, chief of Lawyers and Detention Facilities Management at the Tribunal, informing them of their mistake and supplying the necessary information. "We hope that once they have given consideration to the information that we've provided, they'll do two things," Ellis told Hirondelle. "Firstly that they will issue a further statement correcting the allegation that our investigator on the Nahimana team was one of those on the list, and secondly that they will confirm that he remains an investigator as part of our team, in order to assist with all our future work on our case. "ICTR spokesman Kingsley Moghalu of Nigeria said that the Registry had received the communication from Nahimana's defence, led by Jean-Marie Biju-Duval of France, and was taking it very seriously. He said the Tribunal would have to "go through it with a toothcomb" to see whether the ICTR Registry or Nahimana's lawyers were right. He said, however, that "these names and individuals were not randomly picked" and that "any attempt to say that we've acted without investigating is not correct". Regarding the need for extreme care, he cited the case of arrested ICTR defence investigator Siméon Nshamihigo, who had been working under a false identity and passport. Nshamihigo was arrested by the ICTR in May and has been charged with genocide. JC/MBR/FH (RW0717e)