Brussels, 6 December 2007 (FH) - The lawyer for Bernard Ntuyahaga, the former Rwandan officer sentenced in the summer in Belgium to 20 years in prison, did not defend the appeal which he had filed because he would not have been paid "correctly", it was reported Wednesday after the hearing from the Final Court of Appeal of Brussels.    

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Although it is not obligatory, Luc of Temmerman (absent at the hearing) did not file a brief to support his argument, and the prosecuting attorney general of the Final Court of Appeal simply asked Wednesday for the rejection of the appeal. "The applicant does put forward any motives, but it arises from an examination of the procedure that the judgment convicting him was conform to the law and I ask for the rejection of this appeal", he said. The Final Court of Appeal will hand down its judgment on 12 December.

The officer of the Rwandan Armed Forces had been found guilty of the killing in Kigali, on 7 April 1994, of ten Belgian peacekeepers. He had also been convicted for several other homicides of Rwandan citizens committed in the first weeks of a genocide which was to result, according to the UN, in more than 800 000 deaths.

Luc de Temmerman, until then counsel of Ntuyahaga, explained to the Hirondelle agency that he "had not wanted to take care of it" because of the non-payment that would be due to him for his work as a court assistant for his participation in the trial. Bernard Ntuyahaga, who according to Temmerman "understands this situation", did not want to call upon another lawyer.

The Flemish lawyer estimates that he sufficiently underlined "the inequity" of the trial during the course of the trial. "In any event, he did not have any hope", he said. However, during the introduction of his appeal, Mr. de Temmerman had insisted on the fact that there would be "many" motives for appeal. He had in particular evoked the testimony of the Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who had accused Ntuyahaga "as a member of government in function does not have to express himself on a case in progress".

Two lawyers for the plaintiffs had also appealed, the Assize Court had refused to recognize, in its civil judgment of 11 September, indemnities for their client. The prosecuting attorney, also, asked the court to reject these appeals.

The trial of Bernard Ntuyahaga was the third, since 2001, to be held in Belgium in connection with the Rwandan genocide.


© Hirondelle News Agency