Arusha, 13 March 2009 (FH) - This week Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) fines the Canadian lawyer Allison Turner 5,000 US dollars for failure to comply with the orders of the Chamber and for her misconduct during court proceedings.

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Turner is a lead Defence Counsel for Rwandan lawyer Leonidas Nshogoza, on trial for contempt of court at UN tribunal since February 9, 2009.

According to the decision issued on March 11, the Counsel failed to comply with Chamber's order to reduce from 22 to 10 the number of witnesses she wished to present, despite the earlier warnings that she could face possible sanctions if not implemented.

‘'The Chamber considers that the Defence failure to file the reduced list of witnesses amounts to flagrant disregard of its orders, obstructs the proceedings, and is contrary to the interests of justice,'' insisted the decision a copy of which was made available to Hirondelle News Agency.

Also during proceedings on Monday and Wednesday this week, the Chamber had repeatedly warned Counsel Turner for unacceptable manner she was addressing the court.

On this particularly issue the decision clarified that ‘' during the course of proceedings, the Chamber has found it necessary to caution Defence Counsel that her tone and language in addressing the Bench was not acceptable, and that she should proceed in a manner that is not insulting.''

Accordingly the three-man Chamber under the leadership of its President Khalida Khan of Pakistan firstly directed the Registrar to retrieve the 5,000 US dollars penalty from Counsel Turner and was also instructed to seek the approval from the ICTR President to communicate Counsel Turner's misconduct to the professional body that regulates the conduct of counsel in her State of admission.

Following such recent development the defence case of Nshogoza schedule to commence Monday this week could not take of, forcing the Chamber to adjourn the trial sine di.

Meanwhile Trial Chamber III Presided by the President of ICTR, Judge Dennis Byron denied a request of the ailing former Rwandan President of the MRND ruling party in 1994, Mathieu Ngirumpatse who wished to be treated in Europe.

Prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity, Ngirumpatse whose health conditions deteriorated since August last year asked to be transferred from Nairobi where he has been receiving medical care to the detention centre of the International War Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for better treatment.       

In his decision, which Hirondelle Agency obtained a copy on Wednesday, Judge Byron, admits that medical reasons can justify the transfer of an ICTR detainee ; but notes that the motion of the former president of the MRND does not specify if the ICTY or the Dutch government in the Hague is ready to accommodate him.

The decision of the ICTR President was also based on the opinion of the medical department of the Tribunal, which stated that the patient is currently receiving the best possible care.

Following his prolonged hospitalization, which paralyzed for several months the trial in which he was tried along with two other former heads of the party, the Chamber ordered on March 3, 2009 severance of the joint trial.   

According to decision, the trial of the former vice-president, Edouard Karemera and secretary-general of the MRND, Joseph Nzirorera will continue on March 23.


© Hirondelle News Agency