Arusha, September 23, 2003 (FH) – Defence counsels for four senior army officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) being tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on Tuesday protested over the introduction of new evidence by the prosecution. The latest saga was fuelled by what the defence considered as “new evidence the prosecution intended to produce that was not part of the indictment”.

2 min 12Approximate reading time

This prompted the defence lawyers of two of the accused to file motions that caused a heated debate in the tribunal. The motion comes close at heel to a similar one filed last week where the defence wanted to bar witnesses from bringing up events that happened before 1994. The defence then partially won their case when the court ruled that only relevant information from before1994 be used. Raphael Constant said that in light of the new evidence, the prosecution ought to retire and come back when it was ready. “We are going to demand that the prosecutor stops the trial so that she prepares her witnesses”, he said. He even came back to an issue he had raised last June saying that the defence should not be the victim of the prosecution's wrongdoing. Constant threatened to quit the trial if their grievances were not addressed. “We are ready to quit,” Bagosora's lawyer declared. “This is no longer a fair trial and I would like the chamber to note it. […] We can not take it anymore. […] The prosecution cannot change the subjects of a witness's statement at every turn. ”Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, is jointly charged with the former head of military operations of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, former army commander of Gisenyi region, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of Kanombe Para-commando battalion in Kigali. Jean Degli lead counsel for Gen. Kabiligi, said that there ought to be a limit as to how far a prosecutor can deviate from the indictment and asked the court to deal firmly with the prosecution. “The prosecutor's investigations will never come to an end”, he stated, adding that they were tired of being ambushed. Barbara Mulvaney leading the prosecution argued that they were not introducing new evidence but giving additional information which is allowed by the rules of procedure and evidence. Article 67 (d) states that ““If either party discovers additional evidence and information, or materials which should have been produced earlier pursuant to the Rules, that party shall promptly notify the other party and the trial chamber of the existence of the additional evidence or information or materials”. She added that the tribunal had to take into account the seriousness of the crimes committed and allow the evidence. In June, Mulvaney had again defended her introduction of new evidence during a trial. “A lot of evidence has come out of Gacaca. What are we supposed to do with it”, she had asked then, arguing that there was “new relevant material that must be heard”. She then cited precedence in a case at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where material from Croatian intelligence had been accepted during appeal yet it had not been available for trial. Trial Chamber One of the ICTR hearing the case is composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. The trial adjourned until Thursday to give time to the chamber to rule on this matter of admissibility of evidence. KN/CE/FH (ML'0923e)