Arusha, April 10, 2002 (FH) - The Rwandan representative to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Martin Ngoga said on Tuesday that defence counsel for former Rwandan mayor and genocide suspect Juvenal Kajelijeli illegally entered a Rwandan prison and obtained judicial documents there. Defence counsel Professor Lennox Hinds of the United States denied all the allegations saying they were "an attempt to interfere with the defence".

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The allegations against the defence lawyer have been made in a report by the Rwandan prosecutor for Ruhengeri Province. The report is a follow up to claims by Hinds that the deputy prosecutor of Ruhengeri had intimidated inmates in Ruhengeri prison contacted to testify for the defence in the Kajelijeli case. The documents obtained illegally from Rwanda, says the Rwandan report, include 26 case files and confession statements. The report also claims that Hinds distributed documents in the prison containing the names of three protected prosecution witnesses in the Kajelijeli case. Hinds said that the only documents he had distributed in Ruhengeri prison were copies of the inmates own affidavits concerning alleged persecution by the Ruhengeri deputy prosecutor. He also says that the documents he acquired in Rwanda had been accessed after he had received permission from officers in the Ruhengeri office of the prosecutor. However, Hinds said he had not bothered to have the documents certified or to get written authorisation from the judicial authorities. "I thought I would trust them (authorities)" he said. The ICTR has refused to admit the documents into evidence, pending authentication. Hinds say that the documents prove "how these prosecution witnesses falsified testimony after being contacted to testify against Kajelijeli". These people told different stories that did not include Kajelijeli when they were arrested and during their confession. "The information is very important and exculpatory", he said. Ngoga said that the Rwandan office of the Attorney General would be requesting the Tribunal to hand back the documents to Rwanda. GG/JA/FH(RW-0410e)