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ICTR Assistant Trial Attorney Resigns over Allegations of Prior Criminal Misconduct in His Home Country, South Africa

In 2003, Mr. Bongani Dyani, a former Public Prosecutor from South Africa applied for the position of Assistant Trial Attorney in the Office of The Prosecutor at the ICTR. After completing the required documentation and following the established recruitment procedure, Mr. Dyani was offered an initial appointment for one year as Assistant Trial Attorney with the ICTR.

On 3 March 2004, Mr. Dyani traveled from Johannesburg, South Africa, via Nairobi, using his national passport issued to him in January 2004 (valid through 27 January 2014) by the Department of Home Affairs of the Republic of South Africa to take up his assignment with the ICTR in Arusha. Mr. Dyani was formerly employed by the National Prosecuting Authority of the Republic of South Africa as a Public Prosecutor stationed at Zwelitsha, a magisterial district in the Province of the Eastern Cape.

On Wednesday 25 May 2005, the Office of the Prosecutor received a letter from the Deputy National Director of the National Prosecuting Authority of the Republic of South Africa, drawing the attention of the ICTR to the fact that in the year 2001, the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Republic of South Africa under whose direct control and supervision Mr. Dyani fell, had instituted criminal proceedings against Mr. Dyani (and his co-accused who has since died) in the Regional Court in East London in the Province of the Eastern Cape. The charges preferred against Mr. Dyani are attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Because of the seriousness of these allegations, Mr. Dyani’s delegation to prosecute was withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions pending the outcome of the criminal prosecution. In the face of the allegations, and after the withdrawal of his delegation to prosecute, Mr. Dyani resigned from the National Prosecuting Authority as a Public Prosecutor.

As soon as the ICTR Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) learned of those allegations on 25 May 2005, the Senior Management of the OTP reacted promptly. The Prosecutor immediately launched an investigation and Mr. Dyani was called in on Thursday, 26 May 2005 and questioned about the allegations. Mr. Dyani was specifically asked to state whether the allegations were true and to explain why he had not disclosed them in his application for the vacancy in 2003. Mr. Dyani was asked to provide a written response by Monday, 30 May 2005. He failed to provide any response.Between 26 and 30 May 2005, the Office of the Prosecutor was also made aware through the Google website of a South African newspaper report that contains similar allegations of criminal conduct against Mr. Dyani.

Until the receipt of the letter from South Africa, the Office of the Prosecutor was not aware of the allegations of criminal behaviour and criminal proceedings pending against him in South Africa. At the time of his recruitment late in 2003, Mr. Dyani had declared to the Tribunal in writing that he had neither been arrested nor charged, nor convicted of any crime. He had also failed to disclose that his authority as a prosecutor in South Africa had been withdrawn.

On the morning of 01 June 2005, Mr. Dyani was spotted by one ICTR staff member at a local hotel as he was boarding a shuttle bus to Nairobi. Mr. Dyani thereupon gave the staff member a sealed envelope addressed to the Chief of Prosecutions, containing his resignation letter, and requested the staff member to deliver it to him. The staff member duly delivered the letter that morning. By the time the letter reached Senior Management in the Office of the Prosecutor, Mr. Dyani had effectively left the Tribunal, and was already out of Arusha, on his way out of the country. Mr. Dyani was called on his mobile phone and urged to come back. He was reminded that he needed to serve notice and to properly check out from the Tribunal as per the UN rules and regulations. Mr. Dyani refused to return and stated that it was too late to come back as he had made up his mind to leave the country immediately.

Mr. Dyani informed the Office of the Prosecutor of his departure at a time when he was almost outside the country. He did not give the Tribunal an opportunity to find out more about the events that took place prior to him coming to the Tribunal as well as his motives for falsifying his application documents at the time of recruitment.

Without giving to the Tribunal a statutory notice of resignation related to his intent to leave Tanzania, Mr. Dyani has breached the UN rules and regulations. The separation actions from the United Nations are subject to certain procedures and necessitate compliance on the part of the staff members to follow the process. Mr. Dyani decided to breach the regulations.

The Office of the Prosecutor and the Senior Management of the ICTR expect their prosecutors and staff members to be persons of highest integrity whose conduct is beyond reproach. Mr. Dyani obtained employment at the Office of the Prosecutor by lying and falsifying information he supplied during the recruitment process. The ICTR strongly condemns such conduct and will continue to ensure strict application of the UN rules and regulations that may lead to termination of service should a staff member be found guilty.

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