Arusha, 11 October 2007 (FH) - A Rwandan lawyer appointed by the registry to inquire into allegations of false testimony in the trial of Abbot Emmanuel Rukundo, in progress before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), concluded Thursday that no charges should be filed.   

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Jean Haguma, former president of the Bar of Kigali, had been charged by the registry with establishing if the protected witness "BLP" had told the truth during his testimony in November 2006, an infraction qualified as contempt of the tribunal.
BLP had testified for the prosecution against Rukundo but he had later shared to the defendant his intention to reconsider his testimony.
Deferred by the defence which wanted to recall him to the stand as a defence witness, the chamber ordered an investigation.
In his conclusions presented before the judges, Haguma indicated that BLP would have been approached by a third person who would have forced him to give a testimony in favour of the abbot.
The Rwandan lawyer estimated that, as BLP had not modified his former testimony, it was not necessary to conclude with a false testimony.
Haguma, on the other hand, blamed a defence investigator who would have been used as an intermediary between BLP and the defendant, pleading that he had demonstrated carelessness.
The investigator in question, Léonidas Nshogoza, was arrested in Rwanda in mid-June in connection with the BLP case. He is still imprisoned under the charge of having pressured this witness and of being a "revisionist". A first scheduling hearing was held on 9 October.
"The attitude of the investigator to meet several times the prosecutor's protected witness and to go to bars with him is very imprudent and against the code of conduct", stated Haguma.
The Rwandan lawyer also cleared the ICTR prosecutor who had revealed the identity of BLP to the Rwandan prosecution and to a prison official, stating that he had done it for investigation purposes.
The parties received ten days to give their opinions on the Haguma investigation. The defence already considers it regrettable that he did not meet the 4 people within the framework of his investigation and that he did not carry out a graphological analysis.
Without awaiting the expiration of the delay, the chamber presided by Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka) declared that "this type of conduct by the defence is starting to become a habit. We must take measures to stop this behaviour. We ask the registry to take suitable measures following the Haguma report".
Abbot Rukundo has been on trial since November 2006. Next week, he should rest his defence case.

© Hirondelle News Agency