Rwanda: Court rejects charges of inaction over arrest of US lawyer
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda rejected charges that it has failed to take action after the arrest in Rwanda of a US lawyer accused of denying the 1994 genocide. Peter Erlinder, who heads the association of defence lawyers at the ICTR, was arrested Friday in Kigali where he went to defend opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, who is also accused of denying the genocide.
Defence lawyers at the tribunal, Arthur Vercken and Anta Guisse, slammed what they said was the ICTR's silence over Erlinder's arrest and said they fear Erlinder's pleas at the ICTR may be used as evidence against him in Rwanda.
“To date it seems the ICTR has not raised the slightest protest against this arrest or demanded the immediate freedom of this lawyer who is on its list and who represents an accused person," Vercken and Guisse said.
ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga told RFI that allegations that the tribunal has done nothing over the arrest of the American lawyer “are untrue” and that “ICTR reacted in a very speedy manner.”
He said that as soon as news broke of Erlinder’s arrest the ICTR immediately contacted Rwandan judicial authorities and said that the court was currently trying to find out if the Rwandan judicial authorities "intend to use Erlinder's work at the ICTR as evidence for the prosecution."