10.10.07 - ICTR/TRANSFER - THE ICTR LAWYERS DENOUNCE THE TRANSFERS OF ACCUSED TO RWANDAN COURTS

  Arusha, 10 October 2007 (FH) - The Association of defence counsels (ADAD) at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) denounced Wednesday the project to transfer to Rwandan courts some accused from this United Nations tribunal, in an official statement published Wednesday.
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On 7 September, the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, addressed to the president of the t/ribunal motions aiming at transferring to Rwandan courts Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana and the former businessmen Gapard Kanyarukiga and Yussuf Munyakazi.
 
"The ADAD denounces the transfer of ICTR cases to Rwanda as a violation of the rights of the accused to a fair trial and urges the ICTR judges to reject the prosecution's motions for transfers", indicates the official statement.
 
"The ICTR, in the interest of reconciliation, is mandated to prosecute all parties in the Rwandan conflict which are accused of crimes ", writes the ADAD in this official statement distributed to the press by the president of the association, American Peter Erlinder.
 
For the ADAD, "the ICTR detainees, who could be key potential witnesses against the crimes of the current RPF regime, are considered by the Kagame government in Rwanda , as enemies and have already been presumed guilty".
 
"After 13 years, only one side, the Hutus, has been tried and there has not yet been an indictment issued against the RPF", points out the ADAD, accusing the ICTR of practicing "victor's justice".
 
"The ICTR judges should not make themselves accomplices in this further distortion of the ICTR mandate by delivering UN detainees to the control of those who should themselves be defendants at the ICTR ", the text adds.
 
On Monday and Tuesday, the majority of the 55 detainees of the ICTR observed a hunger strike as a protest against the transfer projects to Rwanda. According to an official at the prison, they would have announced their intention to end their strike on Wednesday evening.
 
The ICTR, which the Security Council has requested to finish its first instance trials by the end of next year, is obligated to transfer certain cases to national courts.
 PB/MM

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