15.06.07 - ICTR/RWANDA - VISIT TO THE ICTR OF A DELEGATION OF RWANDAN LAWYERS

  Arusha, 15 June 2007 (FH) - A delegation of six Rwandan lawyers led by the President of the Bar Association of Kigali, Gashabana Gatera, paid a three days visit to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) where it was received by its principal figures.   
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In addition to the President of the Order of Rwandan Lawyers, the delegation included Project Kaburege, Jean-Baptist Niyibizi, Faroh Ndahiro, Natacha Bugondo and Donation Mucyo. According to Gashabana, this second visit of Rwandan lawyers was "enriching".
 
As of next September, training seminars will be organized in Rwanda to initiate Rwandan lawyers to common law and international procedures.
 
Having arrived on Monday, this delegation set out again Friday after having attended several trial sessions in progress and having met with the President, the Registrar and the Prosecutor of the ICTR. They also met with their counterparts accredited at the ICTR and several officials of the chambers and of the prosecution.
 
The transfer to Rwanda of accused and cases of individuals sought by the ICTR supposes that their trials in Kigali will meet international standards. A last obstacle is about to be removed with the soon to be abolished death penalty; however, other questions are still to be solved.
 
Thus, the legal aid from which the defendants profit at the ICTR does not systematically exist in Rwanda; even if the law creating the bar association prescribes it. The presidential decree which would have authorized these legal aid funds was not signed. Thanks to particular financing efforts (lawyers without borders, Belgian co-operation, UNDP), two lawyers have been able to be commissioned in each province. Even if the ICTR cannot replace the Rwandan legal authorities in this field, various methods have been evoked to find financings.
 
The Bar Association of Rwanda, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary at the end of August, has asked the ICTR to take part with a conference on this occasion. As of 27 August, this conference on the rights of the defense is scheduled to take place, to which should partake the ICTR.

PB/ER/MM
 
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