Arusha, 9 November 2007 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) agreed to hear the opinion of the organization for the defence of human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW), in connection with a procedure aiming at transferring a defendant to Rwandan courts, it was learned from a legal source Friday.

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The accused in question, the former legal police inspector, Fulgence Kayishema, is still at large. The ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, filed on 11 June, a motion aiming at transferring this case to Rwanda.
"The chamber grants leave to HRW to appear as amicus curiae in the present case ", indicates an order delivered Thursday by Judges Inès Weinberg de Roca (Argentina), Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya) and Robert Fremr (Czech Republic).
HRW had filed its request on 25 October. The prosecutor had stated his opposition to this proposal.
In its decision, the tribunal invites HRW to answer, in written arguments, a certain number of questions.
The judges want to know, in particular, if the Rwandan legal system can, in practice, guarantee an adequate legal assistance, grant a suitable legal aid to a poor defendant, facilitate displacements and investigations of defence teams and ensure their safety.
"What kind of impediments the defence of the accused may face in the discharge of its function?", also requests the chamber.
It also wishes that the organization expose: "What kind of threats prosecution and/or defence witnesses may potentially face before, during and after giving testimony in Rwanda?".
The organization has, according to the decision, a 21-day deadline to file its arguments. The ICTR prosecutor and the Rwandan government will be able, if they consider it useful, to retort.
Three other defendants are targeted by transfer requests to Rwanda.
Within the framework of its completion strategy, the ICTR, which must finish its first instance trials by the end of next year, plans to transfer certain case to national courts, including those in Rwanda.
The tribunal has, to date, delivered 28 convictions and 5 acquittals.

© Hirondelle News Agency