Arusha, October 21, 2010 (FH) - Rwandan Prosecutor General, Martin Ngoga said Wednesday that his country would summon American lawyer Peter Erlinder, a defence counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the coming few weeks to face charges of genocide denial. 

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‘'It is going to happen very soon. I would say in a couple of weeks,'' Ngoga told a press conference jointly conducted by the Spokesperson of the ICTR, Roland Amoussouga.

Erlinder is lead counsel for genocide-convict Major Aloys Ntabakuze who has appealed against life imprisonment sentence rendered by ICTR on December 18, 2008. His appeal is yet to be heard.

Ngoga's statement follows a recent decision by the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal on a motion filed by Ntabakuze.

‘'We have a substantive case against  Erlinder,'' Ngoga pointed out , adding that ‘'genocide denial is not acceptable. It doesn't matter wherever you come from.''

He explained that if Erlinder does not respond to the summons he would be a fugitive and Rwanda would opt to use the Interpol, to track him down for his arrest. ‘'He is  a lawyer and he knows the consequences of jumping bail,'' he warned.      

‘'We will proceed as planned to prosecute him for genocide denial and make sure that throughout the process we are not infringing his functional immunity as defence lawyer of the ICTR,'' Rwandan Prosecutor General emphasized.

In its decision of October 6, the Appeals Chamber recognized the functional immunity of the defence counsels in the course of executing their duties in defence of their clients before the ICTR.

‘'The small reference to a particular document that was seen to be infringing his immunity will be withdrawn from our charge sheet,'' Ngoga said.

Erlinder went to Rwanda to defend the opposition leader, Victoire Ingabire of unregistered United Democratic Forces (UDF-Inkingi) party, who wished to run for presidency alongside President Paul Kagame and who has herself been charged with genocide denial.


© Hirondelle News Agency