First hearing on transfers

05 May 2008 by our Arusha correspondent

Presented as "historic" by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the hearing that was held April 24 opened, quite belatedly, the very first public debate on one of the prosecution's five requests for the transfer of defendants to Rwanda. Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow made the first move, exhorting the judges to look to France's example, saying, "The court of appeal [of Chambery] has pronounced on the same issue, in the context of a request (...) for the extradition of one Kamana Claver to Rwanda on charges of genocide and charges of crimes against humanity.

Chief Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow made the first move, exhorting the judges to look to France’s example, saying, “The court of appeal [of Chambery] has pronounced on the same issue, in the context of a request (…) for the extradition of one Kamana Claver to Rwanda on charges of genocide and charges of crimes against humanity. [On April 2,] the court granted the extradition on the basis, amongst other things, that Rwanda's legal system does guarantee the right of the accused to a fair trial and to trial within a reasonable time". [IJT-86] Alex Obote Odora, Jallow's right-hand man, then took over, attacking Human Rights Watch (HRW), which had filed an amicus brief opposing the transfers. Obote called into question the methodology, qualifications and expertise of HRW's researchers—even though tribunal prosecutors have relied heavily on those same researchers to provide expert testimony about the genocide in most of its trials.

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