Arusha, 8 August 2007 (FH)-A person accused of contempt of court will appear Friday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), it was learned Wednesday from a judicial source.

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The protected witness GAA had initially testified for the prosecutor then for the defence in the trial of the former Minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda whose conviction to life in prison was upheld by the appeals chamber on 19 September 2005.

Before the appeals chamber, witness GAA had explained that he had reconsidered his testimony after having discovered that he had been induced into error by a prosecution witness.

Not satisfied with this explanation, the appeal judges ordered an investigation which, later, led to his indictment for contempt of court.

GAA was arrested in Rwanda on 1 August and was transferred to the ICTR to be tried. Friday, he will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty, on the basis of an indictment that has up to now been kept under seal.
The document was confirmed on 11 June by Judge Jai Ram Reddy (Fiji).

It is the first time that a trial for contempt of court is being held at the ICTR. In the past, the parties had on several occasions pleaded that witnesses had lied under oath but each time they were overruled by the judges.

GAA will appear at 10 a.m. (7 a.m. GMT) before Judge Dennis Byron (Saint-Kitts and Nevis), the ICTR President.

He will be defended, for this initial appearance, by a court appointed lawyer. The registrar's office, after having ensured itself that he is indigent, designated the Tanzanian Cecil Maruma to represent him. His fees will be paid by the tribunal.

The maximum sentence faced in the event of a conviction is five years in prison and/or a fine of 10 000 US dollars.

The fine is paid to the registrar who places it into a distinct account. The first instance judgment is likely to be appealed.

© Hirondelle News Agency