Arusha, June 7, 2011 (FH) - The Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has appointed Canadian lawyer, Prof. André Tremblay, as Lead Counsel for Major Aloys Ntabakuze, in the appeal challenging his conviction of genocide, among other crimes, and life imprisonment sentence.

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Prof. Tremblay takes shoes of American lawyer, Peter Erlinder, who was sanctioned by the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal, for failure to represent Ntabakuze in his appeal when was called for hearing on March 30, 2011.

Before his appointment, the Canadian professor was co-counsel for Ntabakuze, who was Commander of the Rwandan Army's Para-Commando Battalion during genocide. In its decision dated April 21, 2011, the Chamber ordered Erlinder's replacement as counsel for the former Rwandan military officer for misconduct.

The Appeals Chamber said that sanctions against the American lawyer were warranted due to several reasons including ignoring two warnings reminding him about his duty to adhere to professional obligations to his client and also considered multiple efforts for him to avoid traveling to Arusha for the appeal hearing.

Erlinder was reportedly worried to travel to Arusha, Tanzania, at the Tribunal's seat, for the appeal hearing of his client allegedly for threats on his life.     

Under such circumstances, the Chamber was compelled to postpone the hearing and granted an order, separating Ntabakuze's appeal from two others involving genocide-convicts, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and Lieutenant Colonel Aloys Nsengiyumva.

The Chamber proceeded to hear the two other appeals and drafting of judgement was going on. No new date has been set for hearing of Ntabakuze appeal. The trio was jointly tried in a case commonly known as Military I.

They were each sentenced to life imprisonment on December 18, 2008 for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.


© Hirondelle News Agency