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Arusha, January 29 2007 (FH) – Two defence lawyers at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Peter Erlinder (USA) and André Tremblay (Canada), have filed a petition requesting the suspension of all proceedings until war crimes allegedly committed in 1994 by the members of RPF, the former rebel forces now in power in Rwanda, are investigated. Last week, the two lawyers – both professors of law in their respective countries – have sent a petition to the ICTR and the UN Security Council, asking them to « suspend ICTR proceedings and review all completed cases”. « In light of newly discovered evidence, all the accused at the ICTR have been wrongly charged with crimes which are actually the responsibility of the RPF leadership, in whole or in part. », the petition claims. « It is no longer possible for the ICTR to credibly continue without prosecuting those who have primary responsibility for civilian massacres in Rwanda during 1994 », Pr. Erlinder and Pr. Tremblay consider. « This new evidence requires a complete reassessment of the policies and procedures of the Tribunal, as well as the convictions and cases pending cases », the petition continues. Furthermore, the two counsels request the Security Council to extend the mandate of the ICTR so as not to guarantee impunity to « members of the current government, including President Paul Kagame ». The Security Council has asked the ICTR to close all trials before the end of 2008; the tribunal has committed itself to respecting this deadline. In their petition, Peter Erlinder and André Tremblay eventually demand to halt transfer of ICTR detainees to Rwanda. Peter Erlinder and André Tremblay both represent the ex-commander of the para-commando battalion of Kigali, Major Aloys Ntabakuze. The latter is currently on trial with three other senior military officers among whom the former directeur de cabinet at the Ministry of Defense, Col. Théoneste Bagosora, the man the prosecution often presents as the « mastermind » of the genocide. The accused have pleaded not guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. MG/ER/AT © Hirondelle News Agency