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Arusha January 3rd 2007 (FH) - Mr. Jean Mpambara, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, who has been tried and acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has left Arusha to join his family in Mayotte, a French island in the Indian Ocean, his attorney has communicated. The ICTR has not been able to confirm this information. Mpambara was acquitted last September 12th of the charges of genocide and extermination he was facing. He had been captured in a refugee camp in Tanzania in June 2001. His trial took place between September 19th 2005 and May 6th 2006. He was represented by two French attorneys: Arthur Vercken and Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse. A total of twenty-six witnesses were heard, ten for the prosecution and sixteen for the defense. Mpambara has moved to Mayotte, a small island of the Comoros, where his wife has fled with their two children. He would have left Arusha before Christmas, according to another acquitted of the Tribunal. For the past three months, he and the other persons acquitted by the ICTR had remained under the control of the tribunal, which provided them subsistence and boarding in a hotel in town. Of the 32 persons tried by the ICTR, five have been acquitted. The first one, Ignace Bagilishema, has found asylum in France. The other three, André Ntagerura, former Minister of Transports, Emmanuel Bagambiki, former prefect of Cyangugu and André Rwamakuba, former Minister of Education, are still in Arusha waiting for asylum countries to accept them. Since they cannot go back to Rwanda for security reasons, they ask to go to Europe or North America but no government will receive them. For instance, Emmanuel Bagambiki has filed a demand for asylum in Belgium where his wife and children who have been granted the Belgian citizenship. Brussels has refused to receive him because of a « risk to public safety ». The President of the Tribunal, Mr. Erik Mose, has made a point this past year to draw the United Nations’ attention to this issue and that of the asylum of released prisoners. Early in December, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana was released at the end of a ten-year prison term. Having no place to go to, he has been housed in the Adventist Church he used to lead. His family in the United States hoped they could take him there in spite of his poor health. No information was communicated about what is to become of him. PB/MG © Hirondelle News Agency