Saturday, 12 February 2011

Rwandan Minister Ordered to Testify in Bagosora Appeal

Although the ruling is not yet on the website of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Hirondelle News Agency reports that the Appeals Chamber of the Tribunal has ordered General Marcel Gatsinzi, who is currently currently Minister for Natural Disaster and Refugee Affairs in Rwanda, to testify before it: ‘The Appeals Chamber orders that Marcel Gatsinzi shall be present for an evidentiary hearing on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 09.00 at the seat of the Tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania' adding that 'failure to comply with the present order may constitute contempt of the Tribunal under Rule 77 of the Rules.’
The Chamber said he may be accompanied by counsel. He will be questioned first by the judges, following which the prosecution and the defence may examine (cross-examine?) him.
Summoning of witnesses by judges is a relatively unusual event before the International Tribunals, although it is certainly not unknown. I am not aware, however, of judges of the Appeals Chamber ever making such an order. Perhaps readers of the blog can enlighten us on this.
Bagosora had wanted Gatsinzi to testify for him at trial, but Gatsinzi had said he would only do so at the request of the judges themselves. No order was made. Bagosora says the testimony is important in terms of his appeal on issues relating to the fairness of the proceedings.
Bagosora was convicted in December 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He had been in charge of the Rwandan military from the outbreak of the genocide, in April 1994.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I thought this seemed like an unusual practice, but it is specifically contemplated by Rule 115.