Detainee Jean-Paul Akayesu, who embarked on a hunger strike on 22 October 1998 to pressure the ICTR to appoint as his defence counsel a lawyer who did not meet the Tribunal's criteria for such an assignment, ended his protest action this evening at 1800 hours. Mr. Akayesu ended his hunger strike by eating dinner at the United Nations Detention Facilities in Arusha.
In a letter to the Registrar of the Tribunal dated today, Akayesu affirmed that he was ending his hunger strike, and that he would utilise “the established procedures" of the Tribunal to pursue his request for a counsel. He was found guilty on 9 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity by the Tribunal on 2 September 1998 and sentenced to life imprisonment one month later on 2 October. Akayesu has appealed against his conviction.