Arusha, May 15, 2002 (FH) - The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) South African, Judge Navanethem Pillay has confirmed a decision of the Tribunal's Registry to withdraw lawyer Andrew McCartan of Scotland as lead counsel for former Rwandan politician Joseph Nzirorera. In a written decision dated May 13th, Judge Pillay said that she had considered the contents in an undated application from McCartan received on March 1, 2002 appealing the Registrar's decision of February 5th which discharged him as lead counsel for the accused.

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The Registry announced in February that the decision to dismiss the lawyer was because of "the financial dishonest behaviour of the lead Counsel (Andrew McCartan of Scotland), with the complicity of his legal assistant coupled with the complete breakdown in communication between the Accused and his two Counsels arising partly from this financial dishonesty". The Registry further stated that in an investigation it had revealed, "the Lead Counsel, in the particular instance, has inflated his bills of October and November 2000, and did provide his Legal Assistant with pre-signed blank forms for submission and reimbursement of expenses". But McCartan had denied the Registry accusations of financial dishonesty and said he was being sanctioned for having blown the whistle on fee-splitting. McCartan's issue begun when a row between him and his client erupted late last year when it was revealed that McCartan had agreed to split fees with Nzirorera in November 2000, under pressure from his client. He said he agreed, pending further inquiries about ICTR practice and having asked the advice of his Bar. But Nzirorera had denied ever reaching an agreement with his lawyer on fee-splitting. McCartan was appealing that the ICTR recall and suspend the decision of the Registrar in respect of the finding that he as the Lead Counsel acted with financial dishonesty and that he should be removed from the list of eligible counsel at the Tribunal. The lawyer also wanted the ICTR to direct the Registrar to convene an Advisory Panel and hold a hearing before it with respect to the allegations against him. Alternatively, McCartan in his Application asked that the ICTR direct the Trial Chamber to hear evidence on the said allegations and reach a judgement on the finding of financial dishonesty. But in the decision Judge Pillay states among other details that McCartan was given a "hearing" in the sense that he was allowed to make comments on the factual issues being considered by the Registry. It states further that documentation that formed the subject matter of the analysis (by the Registry) were known to or were submitted by McCartan. On McCartan's complaint that the Registry's decision that found financial dishonesty is punitive in effect. , the ICTR President said: "I find, further, that this finding required a high standard of compliance with the requirements of natural justice, and that in the context of this enquiry, that standard was met. "She also added that while the Registry was bound to make its decisions in accordance with natural justice, there is no observable or credible basis for Mr. McCartan's complaint that the Registry had to accord him the rights enumerated in the ICTR Statute. SW/FH (NZ-0515e)