25 September 2008

Rwanda: ICTR Reprimands Prosecutor Jallow for Lack of Integrity

Arusha — The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has reprimanded its Prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, for lack of diligence in the disclosure of some of exculpatory materials to the defence teams in a joint case of four former Rwandan senior army officers on trial for their involvement in the 1994 genocide.

In their ruling dated September 22, 2008, the three-bench judges, led by Asoka de Silva (Sri Lanka), emphasized and reminded the Prosecution of " Its responsibility as ministers of justice to assist the Chamber discover the truth about the allegations in the indictment and to do justice to the international community, the victims and the accused." Other members of the bench are Seon Ki Park (South Korea) and Taghrid Hikmet (Jordan). Hirondelle is in possession of the full ruling.

The decision followed oral motions filed by the defense teams in the case also known as Military II on February 4, 2008 alleging violation of prosecutor's disclosure obligations pursuant to Rule 68 of the Statutes establishing the UN Tribunal. reports Hirondelle Agencty.

The defendants are two former Chiefs of Staffs of the Army, General Augustin Bizimungu and that of the Gendarmerie National, Augustin Ndindiliyimana both of whom have already defended themselves before the Tribunal, former Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye now defending himself and his Deputy, Captain Innocent Sagahutu who will be the last in the4 defence case.

"The Prosecution must always exercise the highest standards of integrity and care in discharging its obligations," the ruling underscored.

The Chamber also ordered each defence team within 14 days from the date of the decision, file motion to recall identified prosecution witnesses or additional defence witnesses based on the statements for which the Prosecution has been found in violation of disclosure obligation.

According to the decision, among the materials which the Prosecution is compelled to disclose are three statements relevant to the disclosure of the files of the former Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels in the killings of former Minister of Social Affairs Lando Ndasingwa and former President of the Constitutional Court, Joseph Kavaruganda, among others. These killings,according to the Chamber, are ascribed to the accused. The judges also ordered disclosure of 16 other statements relevant specifically to the case in question.

Before handing down the ruling the Chamber considered various options as remedy for the Prosecutors failure to abide by rule 68.

"Taking all relevant factors into account, the Chamber finds that this would be the most practical way of remedying the Prosecution's disclosure violations while preserving the rights of the accused to a full and fair defence and maintaining the integrity of the trial proceedings," part of the decision elaborated.

The Chamber also ruled that the decision be served in person to Mr Jallow by the Registry.During their submission the defence of Sagahutu requested the withdrawal of specific charges in the indictment whereas the teams for Bizimungu, Ndindiliyimana and Nzuwonemeye asked for sanctions against the Prosecutor.

All the accused have denied to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial commenced September, 2004.

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