Arusha, October 31, 2001 (FH) - The Appeals Court of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has declared admissible the Prosecutor's appeal against the acquittal of former Rwandan mayor Ignace Bagilishema. Bagilishema is the first person to be acquitted of genocide charges by the ICTR.

0 min 59Approximate reading time

On June 7th this year, the court ordered his immediate release, but attached conditions after the Prosecutor announced her intention to appeal. In a decision of October 26th, the Appeals Court threw out a defence challenge to the Prosecutor's appeal, concluding that the appeal was in line with ICTR Rules. Bagilishema's lawyers, François Roux of France and Maroufa Diabira of Mauritania, had argued that the notice of appeal was too imprecise, which would prejudice them in preparing their case. The Prosecutor replied that defence had not demonstrated such a prejudice, and had misinterpreted the Rules. The Appeals Court considered that "the only formal criteria required by the Rules concerning the notice of appeal is the laying out of the grounds for appeal; that in no case is the notice of appeal required to detail the arguments that the parties intend to bring in support of the grounds of appeal". The defence had argued that: "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 currently in France, pending the appeal hearing. No date has yet been set for that hearing. AT/JC/PHD/FH (BS1031e)