Arusha, June 6, 2012 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday rejected the request for disqualification of Italian Judge Fausto Pocar in any application that will be lodged by genocide-convict, Ferdinand Nahimana, before the Tribunal.

1 min 13Approximate reading time

Nahimana, a founder of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), has been sentenced in appeal to 30 years in jail for his role in the 1994 genocide. He had sought for the disqualification of Judge Pocar from ruling any of his motions, including the pending request for reconsideration of certain prior ruling of the Chamber .

The convict claimed that Judge Pocar was not impartial and had erred in concluding that journalists of the RTLM were Nahimana’s subordinates. He alleged that in convicting him, the judge based on solely testimony of expert witness, Alison des Forges, that he was the superior of RTLM staff after April 6, 1994.

But in a decision dated June 6, 2012, the Chamber’s Presiding Judge Theodor Meron said, “I consider that the presumption of impartiality of Judge Pocar has not been rebutted and I find that Nahimana’s request for disqualification is without of merits.”

Judge Meron further noted that none of the decisions on appeal rendered in the convict’s case was attributed solely to Judge Pocar, but to a bench of the Appeals Chamber.

“In accordance with the consistent practice of the Appeals Chamber, Judge Pocar signed the decisions as the presiding judge on behalf of the respective benches,” he ruled.

The judge added, “ I fail to see how a reasonable observer, properly informed, would reasonably apprehend bias on Judge Pocar’s part based on decisions resulting from the proper exercise of the Appeals Chamber’s appellate jurisdiction.”

On November 28, 2007, the Chamber affirmed Nahimana’s conviction of direct and public incitement to commit genocide and persecution, as a crime against humanity and reversed the life imprisonment sentence imposed on him in the first instance to 30 years in jail.