12.11.07 - ICTR/TRANSFER - THE ICTR PROSECUTOR IS FAVOURABLE TO THE AMICUS CURIAE OF HRW

 Arusha, 12 November 2007 (FH) - The prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) wishes to quickly 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 Rwanda.   
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Referring to this motion, last week the Hirondelle agency had wrongfully stated that the prosecutor opposed it. In fact, the prosecutor wished that this "amicus curiae" be filed quickly. He wished that this opinion be communicated within seven days. The transfer motion, pointed out the prosecutor, dates from 11 June and the proposal from Human Rights Watch from 25 October.
 
The accused in question, the former legal police inspector Fulgence Kayishema, is still at large. The chamber, formed by Judges Ines Weinberg de Roca (Argentina), Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya) and Robert Fremr (Czech Republic), authorized last Thursday HRW to be heard as a friend of the court within 21 day.
 
It also asked a certain number of questions. The judges want to know if the Rwandan legal system can, in practice, guarantee an adequate legal assistance, grant a legal aid suitable to a poor defendant, facilitate displacements and investigations of defence teams and ensure their safety. "What obstacles could the defence of a defendant be confronted with in the achievement of its duties?", also requests the chamber. It also wishes that the organization expose "the potential threats faced by prosecution and defence witnesses before, during and after their testimony in Rwanda".
 
The prosecutor and the Rwandan government will be able, if they consider it useful, to retort.
 
PB/MM

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