20.11.07 - ICTR/ZIGIRANYIRAZO - ICTR REJECTED A LETTER OF AN ACCUSED DECEASED

Arusha, 20 November 2007 (FH) – The judges of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), rejected Monday a letter wrote by the late former Rwandan Minister of Commerce Juvenal Uwilingiyimana due to its controversy.   
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The legal sources highlighted some of controversial statements including the identification of Canadian investigators as the source of threats to the physical well-being of Mr. Uwilingiyimana.
 
That controversial letter dated November 5th 2005 expressed his desire to cease cooperating with the ICTR regarding the genocide.
 
Juvenal Uwilingiyimana,54, adressed that letter to the ICTR prosecutor in which he expressed that the Rwandan genocide was planned exclusively by the members of the ‘Akazu’ (meaning ‘little house in Kinyarwanda) and the MRND leaders.
 
The judges decided to reject the letter after a discussion made by the parties in the case concerning the brother- in -law of the late Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, Protais Zigiranyirazo on the acceptance or refusal of a Canadian expert witness Doris Gauthier called by the defence. The judges decided to reject its testimony that aimed to prove the signatory of Uwilingiyimana’s letter.
 
According to the Canadian lawyer John Philpot who is defending Zigiranyirazo, the letter was rejected because it would cause prejudices of others.
 
“This letter could cause prejudices to others as it could contradict Bagaragaza's testimony,” he stated
 
At the side of the counsel for the prosecution, Wallace Kapaya, Uwilingiyimana’s letter could be unfair to the proceedings.
 
“This letter could be unfair to the proceedings as it lacks credibility”, said the senior Attorney for the prosecution, Mr. Kapaya without explaining further.
 
The letter expressed that the prosecution investigators  forced Uwilingiyimana to provide false testimony against Protais Zigiranyirazo and MRND leaders.
 
"I must help you to destroy( quoting investigators's term) Mr. Zigiranyirazo Protais and all the member of the Akazu,including his sister Agathe, and destroy the leadership of the MRND, accused before the ICTR," stated the letter.
 
Being an inductee of ICTR, Uwilingiyimana faced the same charges like those brought Zigiranyirazo before the international justice. Zigiranyirazo is the brother of the late president Juvenal Habyarimana’s widow Agathe whom children came to testify before the ICTR to prove the innocence of their uncle.
 
Juvenal Uwilingiyimana’s letter was found one week after his dissapperance. He was missing on November21, 2005 and his decomposed body was found floating in a canal of charleroi in Brussels.
 
 Some speculations was mentioned about his death including suicide brought on by the gravity of his indictment for genocide or, homicide or even a work of hutus who were afraid of his testimony against them.

 AS/PB

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