Arusha, 29 June 2009 (FH) - The Appeal Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) cancelled two decisions which inflicted a total fine of  of 5, 500 dollars to a Canadian lawyer, Allison Turner.

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The sum had been taken by the registry from Turner's honoraries.

The lawyer had been sanctioned in March for her attitude considered insulting the Chamber presided by Pakistani Judge Khalida Khan. The first to be subjected for such sanctions before ICTR, Turner had appealed.

In a ruling rendered last Friday, the Appeal Chamber concluded that the first judges exceeded their discretionary power by imposing ‘'pecuniary sanctions''.

The ruling also ordered the registry to reimburse the lawyer the amount deducted from her honoraries.

Turner is a lead defence counsel for Rwandan lawyer, Léonidas Nshogoza, accused by a witness of having tried to bribe him in the trial of a former Rwandan Education and Culture Minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, who was sentenced to life in prison in September 2005. Nshogoza was by then an investigator in the defence team of Kamuhanda.

The judgment is expected to be rendered Thursday.

The Canadian lawyer had protested in writing and even before the judges against a decision of the Chamber to reduce the number of Nshogoza's witnesses. The decision delayed the proceedings.

Whereas the prosecutor had called only 5 witnesses, the opposing party had for its part, planned, initially, to call forty.

But the Chamber, using its discretionary power, had ordered her, in a judgment dated 23 February, to file a list of 10 witnesses maximum.

The lawyer had trailed her feet, an attitude which had been regarded by the Chamber as "an obvious contempt of court".


© Hirondelle News Agency