24.01.08 - ICTR/NSENGIMANA - PROSECUTION TRYING TO BAN A MEMBER OF CATHOLIC PRIEST'S DEFENCE TEAM

Arusha, 24 January 2008 (FH) - The prosecution in the trial of Hormisdas Nsengimana, a Catholic priest accused of having taken part in the 1994 genocide, could not Thursday ban a member of the defence team from attending the courtroom.
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The-day- before, the prosecution was astonished that an investigator, a Rwandan, who a witness had accused him of having approached him, was in the chamber next to the lawyers and the defendant in the courtroom.

Since the resumption of the trial, the prosecution accuses the defence team of having tried to influence one of its witnesses.

The witness in question, a Rwandan convicted of genocide, explained that the investigator had come to see him in Rwanda and he considered him as a threat.

Questioned, the investigator denied all hostile manoeuvres and explained that he had gone to see him [witness] without knowing that he was on the prosecution's list and which was much earlier.

According to the ICTR rules of procedure and evidence, a witness cannot be contacted by the opposing party.

The chamber, temporarily composed of Judge Erik Mose and Judge Sergei Egorov, Judge Rita Arrey being absent Thursday, requested that the registry to investigate the issue and submit a report.

PB/AT/MM/SC
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