Arusha, November 6th, 2002 (FH) - Guy Poupart, the defence co-counsel of former Rwanda Minister and genocide suspect in the Butare trial Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, on Wednesday presented a motion at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda requesting that investigators and legal assistants be allowed access to the accusedvat detention facility in Arusha in absence of counsels. The Registry notified all the defence counsels of its position on the issue in a letter dated March 26, 2002.

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The letter requires them to accompany the investigators and legal assistants to see the accused at the detention facility. Didier Preira, a member of the Registry in charge of lawyers and the UNDF management, told the chamber that the Registry had relaxed the rules to enable the defence do their work efficiently but they abused the leniency, prompting it to act tough. Poupart dismissed the allegation terming it as "assertions with no proof," and urged the chamber not to heed the submission by the Registry. Co-counsel Guy Poupart termed the oral motion as “extremely urgent” shortly after the trial was adjourned to Monday for lack of prosecution witnesses. All the defence counsels in the case supported the motion and urged the chamber to allow it. Poupart said the requirement had resulted in great loss of time, delay in preparation of their defence and has made their work difficult. The counsel said the condition set by the Registry is a poor utilisation of funds allocated by the UN because the defence counsels, most of whom live outside Tanzania, will have to travel to Arusha to facilitate the work of investigators and the legal assistants. "It appears to be a manner of dilapidating public funds", said Poupart. He said the defence is looking for a way to accelerate proceedings and that can be done with the investigators and legal assistants doing a portion of the work. Didier Preira said the Registry had taken such a stand to safeguard the confidentiality between the counsels and their clients. He said it is not in the interest of justice to extend that confidentiality to investigators and legal assistants. Nteziryayo's lead counsel Titinga Pacere, said the condition imposed by the registry denying the investigators access to the accused amounts to stopping them from having direct contact with their witnesses. He said it was unfair because this rule does not apply to the prosecution teams. Ntahobali's lead counsel Duncan Mwanyumba also supported the motion, adding that 15 months had elapsed since their investigator was suspended and complained that no action has been taken to replace him. Judge William Hussein Sekule presiding said the decision on the motion would be delivered “in due course”. The trial was adjourned to Monday after the cross-examination of the seventeenth prosecution witness "FAI", who had testified since last Wednesday. The prosecutor, Jonathan Moses requested for an adjournment to enable him get other witnesses who are retained in Rwanda due to new travel requirements imposed by the authorities in Kigali. The president of the ICTR, judge Navanethem Pillay, has officially complained to the Security Counsel that these new travel requirements were delaying some trials. Three Rwandan officials, the Minister of Justice, the President of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General, are coming to Arusha next week to talk about this issue, among other things. They will meet Adama Dieng, the Registrar, and Carla Del Ponte, the chief Prosecutor for the ICTR. PJ/CE/FH (BT-1106e)