≡ Menu

ICTR Confirms Peter Erlinder’s Immunity

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha has confirmed that Professor Peter Erlinder is immune from arrest and prosecution for his arguments made in the course of defending clients in the court.

In its October 6, 2010 ruling following the case introduced by one of Peter Erlinder’s client, Major  Aloys Ntabakuze, The Appeals Chamber found that Defense Counsels benefit from immunity from personal arrest or detention while performing their duties assigned by the Tribunal and also with respect to words spoken or written and acts done by them in the course of the performance of their duties as Defense counsel before the Tribunal.

Peter Erlinder. Erlinder was arrested in Kigali, Rwanda on 28 May 2010 while attempting to represent a Rwandan opposition leader accused of  “genocide denial” and “terrorism”. Peter Erlinder was himself charged of ‘genocide denial’, arrested and jailed in squalid conditions, including food and sleep deprivation,  for weeks  (see our articles: US Congress Presses Rwanda on Jailed Lawyer  ;  Rwanda Releases American Lawyer and Rwandan Security Services Planned to assassinate Peter Erlinder ).

The ICTR maintains that Peter Erlinder was not  under the mandate when he was arrested.
The Rwandan Government had submitted to ICTR the proofs of the crimes committed by Peter Erlinder. However, the Appeal Chamber found that the submission included documents related to closing arguments in the case of Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and on the behalf of Major Aloys Ntabakuze.

The ICTR found that the Rwanda Government ‘s submission violated the functional immunity of Peter Erlinder and interfered with the proper functioning of the Tribunal.
In making the decision, the ICTR also created provisions so that such cases of the Rwanda Government violating Defense Counsel’s functional immunity does not happen again.

©AfroAmerica Network, 2010

Comments on this entry are closed.