One of the founders of the extremist radio station Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM) has requested more time to prepare his case which is now pending in the appeals chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, 55, was a member of the steering committee of the RTLM station, which incited the 1994 genocide of Tutsi and the massacres of Hutu members of the opposition.
On December 3, 2003, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison in a trial that lasted slightly over three years. He boycotted the entire proceedings in protest over what he termed “partiality” of the judges. He even refused to recognise lawyers assigned to defend him. When Barayagwiza was convicted, he decided to appeal. He said that he had only boycotted his trial session because he did not trust judges in the lower chamber.
During a status conference held on Friday 1 April 2005, Barayagwiza requested more time to prepare his appeal arguing that his case was “complicated”. He had been given three and a half months to file his pre-appeal briefs but he considered the time given to be too short and wanted it to be pushed to 12 months. “I find myself in a very unusual position. I do not have to be limited or be discriminated against. My co-accused were given more time.”
Barayagwiza was jointly accused with the other partner in RTLM, Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze, former editor of the radical anti-Tutsi newspaper, Kangura. He blames the Registrar for dragging his feet in appointing a new defence counsel. Mr. Donald Herbert was assigned to Barayagwiza November 30, 2004.
“I am the one prejudiced and you expect me to pay for the Registrar’s delay?” the accused asked Judge Ines de Roca from Argentina who was chairing the hearing via video link from The Hague. Judge Roca informed Barayagwiza that the interests of his co-accused should be taken into account as well as they had requested for a hearing without delay. The Argentinean judge advised the accused that if he was not satisfied with the arrangements, he could appeal to the complete five-person chamber and not a sole judge.
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