Arusha, 17 September 2007 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) confirmed the decision of a first instance chamber ordering the registry of the same tribunal to pay to a person acquitted a compensation of 2 000 dollars (approximately 1 million Rwandan francs) for violation of his rights during the first months of his detention.   

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Minister for National Education for the interim government in place from April to July 1994, Andre Rwamakuba, a doctor, was acquitted a year ago by the ICTR; he had remained without a lawyer during the first months of his detention.
The Appeals Chamber orders the registry to make appropriate arrangements for the payment of the award", indicated the judgment, from last Friday, of the appeal judges.
At the time of his acquittal, 20 September 2006, the first instance judges, had also indicated that he was free to request compensation for this violation of his right to counsel.
Consequently, the former minister, through his lawyers, had filed a motion and obtained from a first instance chamber a decision forcing the registry to pay him 2 000 US dollars.
The judges had, nevertheless, rejected his request for having been arrested and held during nearly 8 years as he was innocent.
The registry had appealed, asserting that it did not have a budget for this kind of compensation.
This decision worries the United Nations because it is likely to become jurisprudence, as no compensation has up to now been granted to a defendant. Persons acquitted that were in detention during many years saw their requests be rejected on each occasion.
After his acquittal, which the prosecutor did not appeal, Rwamakuba was housed by the tribunal in a "safe house" in Arusha; where the tribunal is located, in northern Tanzania.
He shares this residence with another acquitted minister, André Ntagerura, who was in charge of transport and telecommunications.
The two men have been searching, since their acquittals, for a host country; but, in spite of the repeated appeals made by the registry, none of the contacted countries have agreed to welcome them.
The ICTR, which began its trial in 1997, has rendered, up to date, 28 convictions and 5 acquittals. The three others persons acquitted were received by Belgium and France.

© Hirondelle News Agency