Arusha, May 26, 2011(FH) -On the third day of special deposition proceedings in the case of most wanted genocide fugitive, Félicien Kabuga, Wednesday, Tanzanian lawyer Bahame Nyanduga claimed to be overloaded and requested to be assisted by a co-counsel, according to minutes of the hearing which was held in total closed session.

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"The Presiding Judge ( Vagn Joensen) took note of the request and said he will make appropriate orders after Duty Counsel has had the opportunity to discuss the matter with the Registrar," reads part of the minutes of the proceedings being conducted at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Nyanduga, the Duty Counsel for Kabuga is quoted in the minutes as telling the presiding judge that the pressure of work as experienced so far would require that the Duty Counsel's team be given additional staff to enable it proceed with its duty towards the court in an efficient manner.

According to the counsel, he would discuss with the Registrar the possibility of appointing a Co-Counsel to assist his team. In an unexpected move, Prosecuting Attorney Bill Egbe supported the request by the Duty Counsel on reasons of workload and principle of equality of arms.

Kabuga (76), who is said to be carrying out his commercial activities in Kenya, is one of nine fugitives sought by the Tribunal following confirmation of their indictments. He is charged with 11 counts of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

He is also facing charges of crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, rape, persecution and inhuman acts and other charges of war crimes. During the events for which he was indicted, Kabuga was a businessman and was related by marriage to the family of President Juvenal Habyarimana.

His indictment alleges that he was main financier and backer of main political parties, National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) and Democratic Republican Movement (MDR) and their militias, who allegedly played crucial role during genocide.

He was also President of the National Defence Fund's Provisional Committee, allegedly provided funds to the interim Rwandan government for the purposes of executing the 1994 genocide.  He also headed Initiative Committee of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), allegedly propagated hatred against Tutsis.

Nyanduga's request for support comes few days after the presiding judge, on May 18, 2011, declare moot and dismissed an application by French lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, seeking to represent Kabuga's family and the accused in the proceedings.

The lawyer failed to meet the deadline for submissions on a litigious issue over whether he had locus standi in the proceedings and decided to withdraw from the matter. The judge had invited the parties, Registrar and Altit himself to file their submissions not later than May 13, 2011.

Despite the parties and the Registrar to file the submissions timely, Altit requested and received an extension to do the same, but failed to make any as of May 16, 2011. The following day he opted out of the matter by e-mailing the Tribunal to express his withdrawal decision.


© Hirondelle News Agency