Arusha, February 14, 2002 (FH) - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) "Media" suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza claims to have spent "almost six years in provisional detention" and that Prosecution is using "ceaseless delaying tactics" to prolong his genocide trial. Barayagwiza has been boycotting the trial since it began on October 23rd, 2000, claiming that the Tribunal is manipulated by the current Kigali government.

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His press release, dated February 13th, comes as the Media Trial is due to reopen Monday with the thirty-ninth prosecution witness. Barayagwiza is a former Rwandan politician and board member of Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). He is on trial with two other people accused of having used media to fuel the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They are alleged RTLM director Ferdinand Nahimana, and former "Kangura" newspaper editor Hassan Ngeze. "Already more than 15 months elapsed since the Prosecutor attempt (sic) to establish evidence for her allegations against the three accused, " reads the statement. "The date on which she intends to exhaust her arguments remains unknown. (…) Will the defence be given such an extended period for the presentation of its evidence? It is not so sure. "Barayagwiza claims that defence has already suffered "irreparable prejudice with the excessive prolongation of my provisional detention". The accused was arrested in Cameroon in 1996 and transferred to Arusha in 1997. In 1999, the ICTR Appeals Chamber ordered him released, on grounds that his rights had been grossly violated during provisional detention. However, the Appeals Chamber reversed its decision after the Prosecutor presented "new facts. ""The undue prolongation of the so-called Media Trial is the illustration of injustice in this Tribunal, which I resolutely denounce by continuing to boycott the parody of justice in process," says Barayagwiza. He is represented by Italian counsel Giacomo Barletta Caldarera and Alfred Pognon of Benin. However, the lawyers were appointed by the court and Barayagwiza does not recognise them. The case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. SW/JC/FH (ME-0214e)