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Prosection files motions for extension of detention of four suspects

Judge Navanethem Pillay today heard Prosecution motions for orders for an extension of provisional detention in the cases of four persons arrested in Nairobi in July 1997. Ruling on the motions will be delivered tomorrow.

Those who appeared before the Judge are Gratien Kabiligi, a former General in the General Staff of the Rwandan Army; Georges Ruggiu, a former journalist and presenter on Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM); Sylvain Nsabimana, a former Prefect of Butare; and Aloys Ntabakuze, a former Commander of the Para-Commando Battalion of the Rwandan Armed Forces.

A fifth motion in the case of Hassan Ngeze, a former Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Kangura, was postponed to tomorrow because his Counsel was not present. The Judge ordered the Registrar to make an arrangement for an alternative stand-in Counsel in case the assigned Counsel will still not be in Arusha.

The Prosecution told the court that it was requesting for the last extension to enable it to finalise its investigations and come up with indictments against the suspects. It added that investigations against the suspects were difficult and time consuming.

Defence lawyers argued that the Prosecution's grounds upon which the requests for extensions are based were not warranted by special circumstances, as stipulated in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal. They further told the court that provisional detention should be the exception and requested for release of their clients.

The application by the Prosecution is the last one possible. According to Rule 40 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the detention of a suspect shall not exceed 90 days, at the end of which, "in the event the indictment has not been confirmed and an arrest warrant signed, the suspect shall be released or, if appropriate, be delivered to authorities of the requested state."

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