Arusha, June 7, 2014 (FH) – An aide to former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana who was acquitted three years ago was in court for an appeals hearing in Kigali. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) presented the UN with a list of its challenges as it prepares to shut its doors in six months’ time.

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RWANDAAppeals hearing for Habyarimana aide: Runyinya Barabwiriza, an advisor to former Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarima who was acquitted three years ago, appeared in court in Kigali Monday for an appeal. The defence asked the court to throw out the prosecutor’s appeal because it was filed too late. The court is due to hand down its decision on June 17. Barabwiriza, who was diplomatic advisor to Habyarimana, was acquitted on August 11, 2011 by the criminal court in Huye,  southern Rwanda. He had been accused of planning and inciting genocide as well as conspiracy. When acquitted he had already spent 17 years in preventive detention. 

ICTRRwanda tribunal lists challenges: The UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) told the UN Thursday that its big challenges include the arrest of nine fugitive genocide suspects, finding homes for 12 people who have been acquitted or served their sentences, and finishing the trial of a former minister and five co-accused within the six months before the Tribunal is due to close. This came in a report presented to the UN Security Council by ICTR President Vagn Joensen and Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow. The Tribunal must close its doors not later than December 31, according to a Security Council Resolution.

ICC Three witnesses transferred to Dutch custody: Three Congolese witnesses who had become a headache for the International Criminal Court (ICC) were transferred Wednesday to the custody of the Dutch authorities. The three men were brought from prison in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in 2011 to testify in the trial of former militia leader Germain Katanga, who was sentenced last month to 12 years in jail for crimes against humanity. But after testifying, the three witnesses filed asylum requests in the Netherlands, where the ICC is based, saying they feared reprisals if they returned to the DRC. They are now waiting for the Dutch authorities to decide on their request.