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Court grants motion on Kabuga's health reports

THE International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) has granted a motion by Rwandan accused of orchestrating the 1994 Genocide, Felicien Kabuga's defence lawyer to share confidential medical reports.

Judge Iain Bonomy, sitting at Arusha Branch of the Mechanism decided on Wednesday that he reached the decision after considering that it is in the interests of justice and judicial economy to authorise the defence to share a confidential- five medical reports with doctors it deems might assist in assessing Kabuga's health in relation to his fitness to travel to and stand trial at the Arusha Branch of the Mechanism.

Kabuga is currently at The Hague Branch temporarily awaiting assessment of his health and possibility of him travelling to Arusha and stand trial for orchestrating the genocide.

Presentation of the medical reports, however, should not prejudice the Prosecution by the adjudication of the motion without awaiting a response.

The confidential defense motion was filed by Kabuga's lawyer, Mr Emmanuel Altit on January 15th, 2021 requesting to be allowed to share the confidential basis, including Kabuga's prior visit to a physician, who may assist it in preparing submissions regarding Kabuga's physical and mental state.

Judge Bonomy said that the parties, including Registrar, Mr Serge Brammertz should be prepared to discuss Kabuga's health and fitness to be transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania to stand trial at the Arusha Branch of the Mechanism with a view to enabling the Trial Chamber to make a final decision thereon.

Following his arrest in France on May 16th last year, Kabuga was on October 26th,  2020 temporarily transferred to the United Nations Detention Unit at the Hague Branch of the Mechanism (UNDU) for a detailed medical assessment to determine, whether and under what circumstances, he may be safely transferred to the Arusha Branch of the Mechanism for trial.

After Kabuga's initial appearance on November 11th last year, the pre-trial judge ordered the Registrar, Mr Abubacarr Tambadou to file regular reports related to Kabuga's health and the defence to file any application on matters relating to Kabuga's health by yesterday.

Kabuga was first indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on November 26th, 1997. His indictment was amended on October 12th 2005 and following further amendments, the operative indictment was confirmed on April 13th, 2011.

Kabuga was arrested on May 16th 2020 in France and following the judge's decision of October 21st, 2020 amending the 'Arrest Warrant and Order for Transfer', Kabuga was on 26th October the same year, transferred to the United Nations Detention Unit at the Hague Branch of the Mechanism for a detailed medical assessment, instead of Arusha Branch of the Mechanism. Initial appearance of Kabuga took place on 11 November 2020.

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Author: DEUS NGOWI

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