14.03.08 - ICTR/TESTIMONY - RWANDAN WITNESS SENTENCED FOR FALSE TESTIMONY BEFORE UN COURT IS RELEASE

Arusha, 14 March 2007 (FH) - A Rwandan who was convicted for having made a false testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was released Thursday after having served his sentence and went back to his country. This witness, designated by the code name "GAA" in order to protect his identity, was sentenced on 3 December to nine months in prison. He is the first witness to be sentenced for this reason. Since the beginning of the ICTR, approximately 2, 000 witnesses have been called to the stand. "He was released yesterday (Thursday).... and was arrived today (Friday) in Rwanda" , the spokesperson for the tribunal, Roland Amoussouga., told Hirondelle Agency. Arrested in August 2007, GAA admitted that he was encouraged to make to a false testimony during the appeal trial, in 2005, of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, the former minister for higher education, sentenced to life in prison. During the appeal hearing, the witness reconsidered statements made during the first instance trial. According to the indictment, the false testimony was requested from him by a defence investigator, a Rwandan lawyer Leonidas Nshogoza, himself detained since last month by the ICTR, accused of pressuring witnesses to make false testimony. Mr. Nshogoza promised GAA a million Rwandan francs (1,800 USD) which the was to pay to him after the false testimony. Following several charges of false testimony during the trial, the appeal chamber ordered an investigation which the prosecutor had entrusted to an American lawyer, Loretta Lynch. Kamuhanda's defence team was astonished that this report was written without interviewing the accused Rwandan lawyer or the main defence counsel. During his surrender to the ICTR on 5 February, Mr. Nshogoza, declared to the press that he has came "so that justice could be done ". During his initial appearance six days later before Judge Charles Dennis Byron, he again claimed his innocence by pleading not guilty. The date of his trial has still not been scheduled. He is defended by Allison Turner. ER/PB/MM/SC © Hirondelle News Agency
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This witness, designated by the code name “GAA” in order to protect his identity, was sentenced on 3 December to nine months in prison. He is the first witness to be sentenced for this reason. Since the beginning of the ICTR, approximately 2, 000 witnesses have been called to the stand.

"He was released yesterday (Thursday).... and was arrived today (Friday) in Rwanda" , the spokesperson for the tribunal, Roland Amoussouga., told
Hirondelle Agency.

Arrested in August 2007, GAA admitted that he was encouraged to make to a false testimony during the appeal trial, in 2005, of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, the former minister for higher education, sentenced to life in prison.

During the appeal hearing, the witness reconsidered statements made during the first instance trial.

According to the indictment, the false testimony was requested from him by a defence investigator, a Rwandan lawyer Leonidas Nshogoza, himself detained since last month by the ICTR, accused of pressuring witnesses to make false testimony.

Mr. Nshogoza promised GAA a million Rwandan francs (1,800 USD) which the was to pay to him after the false testimony.

Following several charges of false testimony during the trial, the appeal chamber ordered an investigation which the prosecutor had entrusted to an American lawyer, Loretta Lynch.

Kamuhanda’s defence team was astonished that this report was written without interviewing the accused Rwandan lawyer or the main defence counsel.

During his surrender to the ICTR on 5 February, Mr. Nshogoza, declared to the press that he has came "so that justice could be done ".

During his initial appearance six days later before Judge Charles Dennis Byron, he again claimed his innocence by pleading not guilty. The date of his trial has still not been scheduled. He is defended by Allison Turner.

ER/PB/MM/SC
© Hirondelle News Agency