16.12.09 - ICTR/NTAWUKULILYAYO - AN RWANDAN ACADEMIC BLAMES THE OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTION

Arusha, December 16, 2009 (FH) - Charles Ntampaka, a Rwandan academic whom the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) refused to admit Tuesday as an expert witness in the defence case of Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, blames the Office of the Prosecution for "pleading alternately one thing and its contrary ".
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Ntawukulilyayo's defence had called upon Charles Ntampaka, a professor at Louvain Catholic university in Belgium, for a testimony on Rwandan administrative law in 1994.

Without denying the witness' academic credentials, the Trial Chamber Three ruled that he did not have the necessary expertise in this specific field.

"Three years ago, the Prosecutor asked me to write a report on the selfsame subject", Dr Ntampaka argues in an email to Hirondelle News Agency. At the time, the request was made for the trial of three leaders of the former ruling party, MRND. However, then, the judges considered they did not need any expert witnesses, including Ntampaka.

"The Prosecutor explained [in 2006] before the same tribunal the exact contrary [of what he said on Tuesday], stating that I had the required profile and that my report evinced a full understanding of the topic", Ntampaka points out.

Ntampaka also criticizes the way the ICTR manages expert witnesses. "Elsewhere, one first reads the report and then discusses its quality", prior to making statements on the competence, or otherwise, of the expert, he explained. Only at the ICTR, the expert's competence is examined first, according to him. 

Ntakuwulilyayo, now aged 67 and a former deputy-prefect of Gisagara (south), is accused of five counts including genocide, complicity in genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He has denied the charges.

ER/GF

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