The President of the Tribunal, Judge Navanethem Pillay, has confirmed the Registrar’s decision to refuse Jean Bosco Barayagwiza’s request for withdrawal of his defence Counsel. No exceptional circumstances had been made out, as required by the Directive on the Assignment of Defence Counsel, to warrant a change of counsel at this stage, Judge Pillay noted in her decision.
Barayagwiza had claimed that his assigned Counsel, Mr. Justy P.L. Nyaberi of the Kenya Bar, lacked competence, honesty, loyalty, diligence and interest and that those factors constituted exceptional circumstances justifying his withdrawal.
In her decision the President pointed out that the only matter pending in Mr Barayagwiza’s case was the Prosecutor’s application for review of the Appeal Chamber’s decision of 3 November 1999. The hearing of that application, which involved complex legal issues, was imminent (15 February next) and she was mindful of the fact that a change of counsel at this late stage would unduly delay the hearing.
Mr Nyaberi had represented Mr Barayagwiza throughout the proceedings against him so far, including the Appeal, which had given rise to the Review, and it was therefore in the Appellant’s best interest that Nyaberi should continue to represent him at the review hearing.