Arusha, 24 November 2008 (FH) - The Registry of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has appointed a former French lawyer, Pascal Besnier, to direct the section of the defence counsels as well as the detention centre at the ICTR, it was confirmed by the press service of the ICTR.

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The nomination puts an end to an administrative drama which had begun in August 2005, in Arusha, when the copy of an alleged private correspondence between Pascal Besnier and the head of the foreign relations and spokesperson of the ICTR, the Canadian Roland Amoussouga, had been widely distributed in an anonymous way.

The diffusion of this correspondence, which implied that the French lawyer saw himself allotting an undue advantage on the other candidates, had led the registrar Adama Dieng to suspend this recruitment in waiting for the results of an investigation entrusted to the specialized services of the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

The administrative investigation, wrapped up in September 2008, brought the secretary-general of the organization to clear the two men. On 30 September, the head of the administration of the Tribunal, Sarah Kilemi, announced the end of the temporary measures relative to this recruitment and presented the excuses of the ICTR "to all the people concerned".

Pascal Besnier is a former lawyer of the Bar of Paris, and a former secretary of the Conference du Stage legal association. He, moreover, taught international law at the National Institute of Oriental Languages of Paris. In 1999 and 2004, he defended before the ICTR Obed Ruzindana and Emmanuel Ndindabahizi.

The ICTR, which is headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania, was created in 1994, a few months after the Rwandan genocide which resulted, according to the UN, in 800 000 victims. It has until now tried 37 people. Twenty-nine are currently on trial and ten are waiting to be before the end of 2009. At the end of 2007 it had cost more than a billion American dollars.


© Hirondelle News Agency