Arusha, September 20, 2011 (FH) -The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Judge Khalida Rachid Khan, has rejected the request by genocide-convict, Simeon Nchamihigo, seeking review of decision by Registrar of Tribunal for his refusal to pay him legal fees he is demanding.

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The ex-Deputy prosecutor in Cyangugu prefecture, currently serving 40 years in jail for genocide and crimes against humanity, had been employed by ICTR as investigator for the defence of another genocide-convict, Samuel Imanishimwe, prior to his arrest in connection with crimes he was himself convicted of.

 "Nchamihigo has not demonstrated that the Registrar's decision of May 12, 2011 is erroneous. In this situation, I therefore have to defer to the position of the Registry," the president said in her decision made available to Hirondelle News Agency on Tuesday.

The president noted that the Registrar does not deny that Nchamihigo's work as an investigator had been approved by the Tribunal and that, therefore, he was entitled to payment. However, she said, the outstanding amount due only covers a tiny part of the sum of 900,000 US dollars spent by ICTR for services provided for his defence when he became an accused person before the Tribunal and was later convicted.

According to the Rules, when it is established that an accused person who has previously received legal aid for his defence has the financial means to participate fully or in part in the financing of his own defence, the Tribunal has the ability to recover all of or part of the spending engaged for the payment of his defence.

Nchamihigo, who was arrested in 2001 at the ICTR premises after being discovered working as an investigator under false name of Sammy Bahati Weza, claiming to be a Congolese citizen, was sentenced to life

imprisonment by a Trial Chamber on September 24, 2008. In a judgment delivered on March 18, 2010, the Appeals Chamber reduced his sentence to 40 years after granting some of his grounds of appeal.

Nchamihigo is still at the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha, pending transfer to the country where he will serve the rest of his sentence.


© Hirondelle News Agency