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RWANDA: Genocide suspect to pay his lawyers

NAIROBI, 5 April 2001 (IRIN) - Genocide suspect, Hassan Ngeze, said he would pay for the services of his own lawyers, news organisations reported on Wednesday. The decision reverses Ngeze’s status an “indigent detainee”, given to all detainees at the UN Detention Facility (UNDF) in Arusha, Tanzania. The Arusha-based Internews service quoted a letter from Ngeze to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) president, Judge Navanethem Pillay, as saying that his decision was in response to the court’s refusal to allow him to dismiss his current lawyers. “Following the court’s rejection of my motion to have my lawyers dismissed, and considering the risks I face if I continue to be defended by counsels who treat me as mad and cannot communicate with me, I have called for my friend to intervene and provide financial assistance, so as I can deal with the situation,” the independent Hirondelle news agency quoted Ngeze as saying.

He said he “solemnly renounces” his status as an indigent detainee. “I have chosen to be assisted before your Tribunal by lawyers Andre Gagnier from the Bar of Quebec and Ngata Kamau of the Kenyan Bar,” he stated. Both lawyers have represented Ngeze before, but he asked to have their assignment withdrawn, Hirondelle said. Ngeze was the editor of the Hutu-extremist ‘Kangura’ newspaper. He is charged alongside former director of Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), Ferdinand Nahimana and a former politician and RTLM board member, Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza. They are linked to the “hate-media” which incited Hutus to kills Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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