The 14th Plenary Session of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda took place in Arusha on 23 and 24 April 2004. The session brought together the Judges of the Tribunal’s Appeals Chamber, Trial Chambers, the Prosecutor and the Registrar. For the first time, the Association of Defence Lawyers (ADAD) was also represented.
The Plenary was chaired by the President of the Tribunal, Judge Erik Møse. The Judges adopted several amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. The discussions dealt with the standard and procedures in connection with amendment of indictments; tele- and video-conferencing during Status Conferences; the Prosecution’s obligation to disclose exculpatory material to the Defence; and the possibility to transfer cases to national jurisdictions.
Hearing before the Appeals Chamber
Prior to the Plenary, on 21 and 22 April 2004, the ICTR Appeals Chamber heard the appeal of former Rwandan Minister for Information, Eliezer Niyitegeka. On 15 May 2003, he was convicted by Trial Chamber I of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, and other inhumane acts). The judgement on appeal sentenced him to life imprisonment.
During the hearing, the Defence argued that Niyitegeka was convicted on mere allegations. The accused told the Appeals Chamber that the evidence presented against him by Prosecution witnesses were blatant lies. The Prosecution defended the conviction of the accused, arguing that its case was strong and that the Trial Chamber relied on tested witness statements.
The hearing before the Appeals Chamber took place before Judges Theodor Meron (USA) presiding, Mohamed Shahabuddeen (Guyana), Florence Mumba (Zambia), Wolfgang Schomburg (Germany), and Inés Monica Weinberg de Roca (Argentina).