Another Allegation of Prosecutorial Misconduct at the ICTR

Another Allegation of Prosecutorial Misconduct at the ICTR

Last month, I noted that the ICTR had formally reprimanded its Prosecutor for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense in the Military II trial.  Now Jerome Bicamumpaka, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the interim government who is accused of genocide, has made similar allegations:

Inspired by this sanction inflicted to the prosecution by another formation of judges, Bicamumpaka accuses the prosecutor of having hidden documents from him proving that the testimony for the prosecution of protected witness “GAP” was part of a plot conspired at the central prison of Ruhengeri, northern Rwanda.

In January 2004, GAP, thus designed to preserve his identity, had affirmed to have killed a Tutsi following an inciting speech which Bicamumpaka would have given during the swearing in of the new prefect of Ruhengeri, Basile Nsabumugisha, in April 1994.

Disputed by the defence, the presence of the defendant at this ceremony had also been reported by another witness, GFA. But the latter later reconsidered his allegations, explaining that he had given a false testimony which had been entirely assembled, with the complicity, according to him, inter alia, of the administration of the prison of Ruhengeri and GAP. GFA disappeared last May as he was in a safe house at the headquarters of the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania.

Michel Croteau and Philippe Larochelle, Bicamumpaka’s Canadian lawyers, noted, in their motion filed Tuesday, that the prosecutor had documents for a long time in his possession proving the existence of the plot and the perjury of GAP.

For these reasons, the defence of the former minister requested that the Chamber not only reprimand the prosecutor but also recall to the stand GAP, or, failing this, exclude his testimony from the case.

I have no idea whether Bicamumpaka’s allegations are true, but the Prosecutor’s actions in Military II mean that they have to be taken seriously.  That’s why it is so important for international prosecutors — at the ICTR and elsewhere — to scrupulously honor their ethical obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence, resolving any doubts in favor of disclosure: one legitimate complaint against a prosecutor casts a shadow over all of the good work done by others.

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Africa, Foreign Relations Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, Organizations
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