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Defence files motion for witness protection in the case of Elie Ndayambaje

The Defence in the case of Elie Ndayambaje (a former Bourgmestre of Muganza commune, who is charged with Genocide, Complicity in Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II) today filed an urgent motion for protective measures for its defence witnesses. Ruling on the motion will be made on Monday 8 September 1997.

Before Trial Chamber 2, the Defence Counsel Charles Tchoungang, from Cameroon, argued that the current situation in the region where most of his potential witnesses are located calls for an immediate order from the court for the protection of their lives and against deportation to Rwanda. Responding to a question from Judge Navanethem Pillay, the Counsel said the urgency during his meeting with about ten witnesses a few days ago.

He told the Chamber comprised of Judge William Sekule, presiding, Judge Yakov Ostrovsky and Judge Navanethem Pillay, that the measures requested included, non disclosure of their identities, names and addresses, as well as protection of their lives. “This will ensure that they are available to give evidence in Arusha for my client when the time comes," he added.

Responding to the motion, the Prosecutor Mr James Stewart told the court that he had no major objections to the Defence's request for witnesses protection. He however cautioned that the protection requested to be elaborated and should not overstep the boundaries of the Tribunal's Statute, and Rules of Procedure and Evidence. He further added that the protection measures requested should not hamper the Prosecution's right to investigate.

The Witnesses and Victims Support Unit, was then called upon by the Chamber to clarify the manner in which the Unit operates. The court was told that the Unit has to use new methods in protecting and handling witnesses for both the Prosecution and the Defence, but was ready for the job.

On Monday 8 September 1997, in the matter of the Prosecutor versus Samuel Manishimwe, before Judge Navanethem Pillay, there will be a hearing of a motion by the Prosecutor for an order for an extension of a provisional detention under rule 40 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal.

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