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Statement by the President: plane crash in Rwanda in April 1994

The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today issued the following statement:

On Monday 27 March 2000 I received by fax a letter dated 24 March from the Under-Secretary-General and Legal Counsel, Mr Hans Corell. The letter states that, following a request by a number of defence attorneys working at the ICTR, a memorandum had been located concerning the circumstances of the shooting down on 6 April 1994 of the aeroplane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi.

The 3-page memorandum had been prepared by Mr Michael Hourigan, formerly a leader of one of the investigation teams of the Office of the Prosecutor investigating the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, on his own initiative. At the time he wrote it Mr Hourigan was working for the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The memo was therefore an internal and confidential matter for the OIOS and it was not sent to ICTR.

Mr Corell's letter further states that:

"The Secretary-General has decided to transmit this document to the Tribunal so that if this matter is raised before the Tribunal, the appropriate Trial Chamber could decide if the document is relevant for the defense of any of the cases on which the attorneys are working and, if so, determine under what circumstances and conditions the document can be released."

The fax transmission did not include a copy of the document itself which arrived by pouch with the original of Mr Corell's letter on Wednesday 29 March.

Having been made aware that the document related to issues which might in future be raised before a Trial Chamber, and after consultation with the other judges, I directed that Mr Corell's letter with accompanying correspondence and the original of the document be placed under seal in the President's Chambers immediately upon its arrival. Neither I nor any of the other judges has read the document.

For information only - Not an official document

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