Arusha, July 16, 2012 (FH) – Four out of five persons acquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) have asked the President of Tribunal to designate a special Chamber to hear their grievances concerning their relocation.

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Former Rwandan ministers Andre Ntagerura (Transport), Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Jérome Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs) and ex-army officer Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi remain in safe houses in Arusha, Tanzania, where ICTR is based, due to lack of host countries.

In a motion signed by Canadian lawyer Philippe Larochelle, the petitioners are asking the judges to issue necessary requests for cooperation to various states in order to facilitate their relocations.

According to the motion, Ntagerura seeks relocation to Canada, France or Holland, while Kabiligi wants to be moved to France. Bizimungu and Bicamumpaka would prefer to go to Canada.

Referring to a provision under the ICTR Statute, the petitioners admit that relocation of acquitted persons was not mentioned as a cooperation matter required by States to comply without undue delay.

But they alleged that the effective and minimum remedy they were entitled to for violation of their rights after their acquittals was the Tribunal to exercise its jurisdiction properly under the law and directly seek from concerned member States the cooperation required to secure the relocation.

“Support for the proposition that relocation is a proper remedy following an acquittal can be found in the numerous requests by both the Registrar and the President of the Tribunal to the Security Council, seeking its assistance to relocate acquitted persons,” they claim in the motion.

 In a Resolution 2054 (2012), unanimously adopted on June 29, 2012, the UN Security Council reiterated its call upon all States cooperate with and render all necessary assistance to the Tribunal for its increased efforts towards the relocation of acquitted persons.

The filing of the motion comes few days after the rejection of a request by the fifth acquitted person, Protais Zigiranyiraso, a brother-in-law of the late president Juvenal Habyarimana, for, among others, orders of cooperation to Belgium to allow him return and reunite with his family.

On June 18, 2012, judges of a Trial Chamber ruled that their duty was to interpret law and not to engage in any diplomatic negotiations for relocation upon acquittal of the accused.

Ntagerura was acquitted in February 2006, while Kabiligi was freed in December 2008, whereas Zigiranyirazo was cleared in November 2009 and both Bizimungu and Bicamumpaka were released in September 2011.