On 9 February 2007, the Registrar’s attention was drawn to an allegation against Maitre Jean De Dieu Momo, Co-counsel for Simon Bikindi. The particulars of the allegation were that Maitre Momo had attempted to influence a protected prosecution witness in the Bikindi trial. The allegation was said to potentially affect the Prosecution case in that trial and it was said that a substantial question was raised as to Maitre Momo’s honesty, trustworthiness and fitness as counsel.
The Registrar initiated an enquiry into the facts behind the allegation. Having received the results of those enquiries, the Registrar is now satisfied that the allegations were not well-founded.
The Registrar finds that there was a meeting between Maitre Momo and a person who was subsequently placed on the list of prosecution witnesses and later was the subject of a protection order. The Registrar has concluded that there is no clear evidence that Maitre Momo breached any ethical standards and that there is no credible evidence that Maitre Momo offered financial inducements to the person involved.
The Registrar concludes that Maitre Momo’s behaviour did not have any adverse effect upon the Prosecution witness and his testimony. The Registrar finally concludes that the facts uncovered by the investigation do not reflect adversely on the honesty, trustworthiness and fitness of Maitre Momo as Co-Counsel.
The Registrar wishes to observe that Counsel must take great care when arranging to interview witnesses that the laws and institutional rules in force in the country where the witness is located are obeyed. The Registrar further observes that the greatest care is needed by the representative of a party when interviewing potential witnesses to avoid the possibility of impropriety, or the appearance of impropriety. Representatives of the parties have an overriding duty to protect the integrity of the judicial process.