Thursday, September 17, 2009

[IWS] ICTR [Rwanda]: BAGARAGAZA PLEADS GUILTY [17 September 2009]

IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

NOTE: The IWS Documented News Service is committed to helping the Rwanda Tribunal garner more attention world-wide. The lessons and legacy of ground-breaking legal matters related to the unspeakable events in Rwanda should not be forgotten. Humans, whether from rich or poor countries, must remain vigilant in curbing the motivations that lead individuals and groups to violent hatred and barbaric acts against a class of people. Consequently, items about this tribunal, which will end shortly after 2010, will appear from time to time on this news service.

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

Press Release
Arusha, 17 September 2009

Bagaragaza Pleads Guilty

Michael Bagaragaza, former Director General of the office controlling the Rwandan tea industry during the period of the genocide, today entered a plea of guilty to the count of complicity in genocide as contained in an amended indictment. The Prosecutor had presented the new indictment together with the plea agreement. The Chamber scheduled that hearing of character witnesses presented by the Defence in preparation of the sentencing judgement be held from 2 November 2009.

The plea agreement was accepted by Trial Chamber III, composed of Judges Vagn Joensen, presiding, Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov and Gberdao Gustave Kam, after the Chamber was satisfied that the accused entered the guilty plea voluntarily and in an informed and unequivocal manner. Bagaragaza, who, on 16 August 2005, surrendered to the Tribunal in Arusha was initially charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide and violations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and of Additional Protocol II of 1977. On 18 August 2005, the accused was transferred to the Detention Unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia following a request by the ICTR Prosecutor to grant the transfer for security reasons.

This was followed by two attempts by the Prosecutor to transfer Bagaragaza's case to the Kingdom of Norway and to The Netherlands. In the case of the Kingdom of Norway, the Trial Chamber, relying on the submissions by the Norwegian Prosecutor, found that Norwegian criminal law did not provide for the crime of genocide, which was alleged in the Indictment, and therefore denied the application. When the Prosecution renewed its request for referral to The Netherlands, it was supported by a statement of the Dutch prosecutor that The Netherlands had jurisdiction to try the case. However, in a similar case involving another Rwandan, The Hague District Court afterwards stated that the Dutch Courts do not have any jurisdiction in trying such a case.

As a result, the Dutch Prosecutor informed the ICTR Prosecutor who then requested the revocation of the referral. On 17 August 2007, the referral order was revoked and the accused was transferred on 20 May 2008 back to Arusha.

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Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
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