1 min 18Approximate reading time

Arusha, November 8th 2006 (FH) - Claver Sindayigaya is the first Rwandan to have appeared before the ICTR in his capacity as a lawyer. This happened during a hearing held on Monday, the Hirondelle Agency reports. Earlier, another Rwandan lawyer, Callixte Gakwaya, accused by Kigali of having participated in the genocide was forced to quit last September ; he had not sat at a hearing yet. Claver Sindayigaya, 43 years old, who graduated from the National University of Rwanda (UNR) and teaches law since 1986 has been sitting since Monday in the Butare trial as second attorney (co-council) of the former mayor Elie Ndayamabaje. He can therefore talk to the chamber in the name of his client. Singayigaya was previously working as legal help in the defense team of Ndayambaje and of the former Chief of Staff of the national police force, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana. Legal aids are allowed neither to speak before the chamber nor to file written requests. « This decision of the registrar of the ICTR does honor to Rwandan jurists and to lawyers in general », Claver Sindayigaya told the Hirondelle Agency. « Whether within the Kigali bar or in Rwandan and foreign universities, there are Rwandan magistrates liable to be appointed defense attorneys at the ICTR », he added. Since all the accused of this tribunal have declared themselves indigent, the Registry - the administrative body of the tribunal – has to appoint and pay lawyers selected from a list of three provided by each accused. The lawyers’ names come from a pre-established list that comprises about six hundred names, five of which of Rwandan lawyers. About one hundred lawyers are currently working at the ICTR. They are paid about 100 USD per hour. The international tribunal located in Arusha, Tanzania, in charge of judging the most important alleged perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, has pronounced 26 judgments and 5 acquittals to this day. According to the Rwandan government, about one million persons died between April and July 1994 during the Rwandan genocide. The majority of the victims belonged to the Tutsi ethnic minority. PIG/PB/MG © Hirondelle News Agency