A lawyer who was arrested last year in Rwanda has been barred from working at the UN’s Rwanda tribunal, based in Arusha

Posted: April 28, 2011 in News
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Appeals judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) removed Peter Erlinder as the defense counsel for a Rwandan genocide convict. The US lawyer was sanctioned because he failed to show up at a hearing of his client, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, last month.

“The Appeals Chamber instructs the Registrar … to replace Peter Erlinder as Ntabakuze’s Lead Counsel as soon as possible,” the decision reads. The judges said Erlinder’s “conduct amounts to a failure to act diligently and in good faith and does not demonstrate the highest standards of professional conduct.”

Although Erlinder informed the tribunal that his medical condition did not allow him to travel to Arusha, the lawyer was reportedly worried about traveling to Arusha because he feared for his life. A motion by Ntabakuze asking for his lawyer to participate in the hearing by video-conference was denied.

Erlinder was arrested in Rwanda last May on charges of genocide denial but was later released “on medical grounds”. He was in Rwanda to prepare the defence of opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, herself charged with “negationism” by Kigali.

The UN showed support for the lawyer during his arrest in Kigali, urging his release. But the judges at the tribunal said Wednesday that Erlinder’s present security fears were unwarranted.

Meanwhile, the appeals judges continued hearing the appeals of Ntabakuze’s two co-convicts, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and Lieutenant Colonel Aloys Nsengiyumva.

The trio was sentenced to life imprisonment on 18 December for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Source: http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/lawyer-barred-rwanda-genocide-tribunal

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