07.11.07 - ICTR/IADL- DEMOCRATIC LAWYERS RISE AGAINST POSSIBLE TRANSFERS TO RWANDA

  Arusha, 7 November 2007 (FH) - The congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) voted for a resolution firmly opposing the project of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to transfer to Rwanda the defendants that it will not have the time to try, it was learned Wednesday in Arusha.    
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The IADL invited the ICTR to reject these transfer requests to a country where "there is no guarantee of a fair trial or rule of law and which continues to violate international standards of justice".
 
This text, which was adopted during the congress of the IADL in Geneva 20 and 21 October, was addressed to Judge Dennys Byron, who presides the ICTR. The IADL affirms that the ICTR failed in its mandate to prosecute the two parties in the conflict and to help in the reconciliation. The ICTR, says the IADL, "has made itself a court of victor's justice".
 
The IADL resolution explains why Rwanda is unable to try ICTR defendants, that ICTR prisoners who can be potential witnesses of crimes committed by the RPF are considered by the Rwandan regime enemies and are presumed guilty. Threats, attacks and false accusations against the witnesses and the defence teams in Rwanda render, according to IADL, the preparation of trials impossible. Moreover, the defendants who could be transferred to Rwanda were arrested in other countries and cannot thus be sent "without appropriate extradition proceedings", affirms the IADL.
 
With the goal of finishing its first instance trials by 31December 2008, the ICTR prosecutor filed motions asking for the transfer of four accused to Rwanda, where they should be tried. Three of them are held in Arusha, the fourth is still at large. The chambers of the tribunal seized for this purpose have not yet delivered an opinion.

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