Arusha, 9 April, 2009 (FH)-The Appeals Court of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has quashed a lower court's decision  not to allow Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former President of MRND party, to be provisionally released to receive medical treatment in Europe.

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Presiding Judge Liu Daqun, in a decision dated 7 April issued in The Hague, Netherlands, instead ordered the lower court for reconsideration of the their decision.

"The Appeals Chamber considers it necessary to remand the matter to the Trial Chamber so that it can apply the correct legal standards and exercise its discretion accordingly'', added Judge Daqun.

"The Appeals Chamber finds that the Trial Chamber erred in the exercise of its discretion in doing so," observed the judgement, whose copy was availed to Hirondelle.

The Appeals Court found that the lower erred in failing to take into account all the factors which were relevant to its taking a fully informed and reasoned decision as to whether, pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules, Ngirumpatse will appear for trial if provisionally released and, more generally whether or not should be granted provisional release.

In his application, Ngirumpatse, who has been hospitalized in a Nairobi hospital for several months now, had requested that he be released for six months so that he can attend treatment in European specialized hospitals.

The lower court in rejecting Ngirumpatse's motion, reasoned that the accused had not furnished any guarantees and also he did not demonstrate that he would receive better medical treatment in Europe or anywhere else.

However, the Appeals court considered that Rule 65 placed no obligation upon the accused to provide guarantee from a state as a pre-requisite to obtaining provisional release.

The MRND trial, which brings together three former top party leaders, was adjourned on 1 April due to a lack of availability of witnesses. It will resume on 20 April.

Currently, witnesses of former MRND Vice President, Edouard Karemera, are testifying. When the trial resumes 32nd witness will take the stand.

Karemera is expected to line up another seven witnesses. The third accused in the joint trial is Joseph Nzirorera, who is the former MRND Secretary General.

The prosecutor alleges that the trio took part in recruitment and arming of the Interahamwe militiamen, the main armed wing of the genocide committed against mainly Tutsis in 1994.


 © Hirondelle News Agency