Arusha, 4 April 2008 (FH) - The Prosecutor has stated categorically that they have not endangered a protected witness who came to testify in the case of Emmanuel Rukundo, a priest accused of genocide before of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as was claimed by the defence. The witness was only known by his code name “BLP”.

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During its closing arguments in February, defence of Rukundo claimed that the prosecutor, under the pretext of an investigation, had contacted Rwandan authorities and had asked precise details which revealed in a very clear manner the identity of BLP to Kigali authorities.

A witness for the prosecution, BLP later retracted and the defence requested that he be recalled to the stand. The prosecutor then started an investigation against him and it is during the process that the violation was alleged to have been committed.

A decision rendered by the judges and a copy availed to the Hirondelle Agency affirms that the prosecutor did not violate protective measures of the witness by revealing the name of witness BLP to the Prosecutor of Gitarama and Prison Warden in Gitarama in Rwanda, where he was being detained and interviewed.

According to the decision, it would have been different if the prosecutor would have shown these authorities a signed confidential letter addressed by the witness to Rukundo announcing to him his decision to retract. The chamber does not have any evidence that the prosecutor revealed the confidential letter. For this reason, the chamber rejects defence request to impose sanctions on the prosecutor, stated the judges.

The chamber, presided by Sri Lankan Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva also warned Rukundo's lead counsel for an illegal contact that a defence investigator made with BLP.

The trial has been closed and a judgement is waited.


© Hirondelle News Agency