Arusha, June 21, 2010 (FH)-The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Mr Adama Dieng, has granted the request for withdrawal of assignment of American lawyer Beth Suzan Lyons as co-counsel of Grégoire Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture, Western Rwanda.

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The decision made available to Hirondelle News agency Monday follows the request by Ndahimana's lead counsel, Tanzanian Bharat Chadha, of May 25, 2010, for withdrawal of American lawyer's service due to break down of communications and deterioration of relationship between him and Ms Lyons and between the latter and accused.

"Good communication and trust between lead counsel and co-counsel and that of the client are necessary for the proper representation of a client," Mr Dieng noted and found, therefore, that a break down of communication, breach of trust and deterioration in the relationship between the two counsels and that of client constitute exceptional circumstances.

In her response dated June 2, 2010, Ms Lyons had refuted the allegations by Chadha. The registrar, however, noted that even in denying the allegations, the co-counsel used language and characterizations symptomatic of a deteriorated relationship.  

"Besides that the co-counsel does not deny that she had consulted with another counsel on matters of the case, without prior consultation with lead counsel, who has the primary responsibility over the case," the registrar noted.

He said Ndahimana would not suffer prejudice as a result of the withdrawal given the present stage of proceedings as the case hearing commences September 6. The registrar ordered Ms Lyons to deliver all original documents in her possession to Mr Chadha and directed the latter to submit three names of counsel for reassignment of new co-counsel.

Ndahimana is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination as crimes against humanity between April 6 and 20, 1994.


© Hirondelle News Agency