Arusha, 15 August 2007 (FH) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, has requested that the judges of the tribunal to annul the decision to transfer to the Netherlands a former important Rwandan economic figure, Michel Bagaragaza, it was learned Tuesday from an official source.

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The transfer of Bagaragaza to Dutch courts had been authorized by an ICTR court order on 13 April.

In a motion dated 8 August, and that the Hirondelle agency obtained a copy Tuesday, Jallow asks the judges to annul this decision and to render an order "asking the Kingdom of the Netherlands to transfer the defendant to the seat of the tribunal".

The ICTR prosecutor filed his motion on the advice of the Ministry of Justice and the crown of the Netherlands.

According to the Jallow's motion, these two Dutch institutions estimate, in the light of a recent decision rendered by the Court of the district of The Hague in the case of another Rwandan accused of genocide, Joseph Mpambara, that the project to try Bagaragaza in the Netherlands has little chance of thriving.

In this 24 July decision of the Court of the district of The Hague, the judges affirm that their jurisdiction is not qualified to hear allegations of genocide in cases transferred from the ICTR to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

M.Bagaragaza was managing director of the controlling organisation for the tea industry in Rwanda during the1994 genocide. After his surrender in August 2005, he had agreed to collaborate with the prosecutor in exchange of a transfer towards a European country. A first motion aiming at transferring his case to Norway had been rejected and the prosecutor had then turned to the Netherlands.

He has since become a "key witness" for the prosecutor, testifying against other ICTR accused. For safety reasons, he has been held since his surrender in The Hague.

The transfers of accused to national courts, including those of Rwanda, form part of "the completion strategy" of the ICTR.

This tribunal, which the Security Council has asked to finish its first instance trials by the end of next year, is obligated, in order to respect this deadline, to transfer certain cases to national courts.

© Hirondelle News Agency