Following the arrest of Defence Counsel Callixte Gakwaya, Lead Counsel for the accused Yusuf Munyakasi, on Friday 1 September 2006, the Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Mr Adama Dieng, expressed his strong concern to the Tanzanian authorities and requested clarification of the reasons for the arrest. Mr Dieng notes that the Tribunal did not receive any prior notice of the intention to arrest Mr. Gakwaya and that no prior consultations have occurred in respect of the case between officials of the ICTR and the Tanzanian police force.
As soon as the Tribunal was informed, appropriate measures were taken to secure the welfare of Mr. Gakwaya in police custody. Security officers have visited the Central Police Station in Arusha on several occasions and have spoken to Mr. Gakwaya.
The Chief of the Security of the ICTR has discussed the circumstances of the arrest with his counterpart in the Tanzanian police, seeking further clarification of the circumstances of the arrest. Officials of the Tribunal continue to monitor the case closely on behalf of the Registrar.
The Registrar of the ICTR observes that he has no warrant of arrest to execute from any Government. The directives that the Registrar has received are from the Appeals and Trials Chambers of the Tribunal.
The Registrar notes that the agreement made between the United Nations and the United Republic of Tanzania provides for certain immunities in respect of Counsel admitted to represent those accused before the Tribunal. In particular, the Agreement required that Counsel “shall not be subjected to any measure which may affect the free and independent exercise of his or her functions under the Statute.” The Registrar notes that Mr. Gakwaya was present in Tanzania in his official capacity as Counsel for an accused.
The Registrar wishes to underline that he exercises his functions in full independence in accordance with the Statute of the Tribunal and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and not on the basis of the partial interests of the parties before the Tribunal or under external pressures.