The trial in the contempt case of Prosecutor v. Maximilien Turinabo et al. (MICT-18-116-T) before the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) will commence on Thursday, 22 October 2020 at 10 a.m. EAT and 9 a.m CEST at the Mechanism’s Arusha branch. The proceedings before Judge Vagn Joensen, the Single Judge assigned to the case, will begin with opening statements from the parties, followed by the expected presentation of evidence on Monday, 26 October 2020. Information on hearing times throughout the trial will be available here: 
https://www.irmct.org/en/cases/court-calendar-and-official-holidays

Please note that due to COVID-19-related restrictions, there will be no access to the Mechanism premises for media representatives and members of the public wishing to attend the hearings.

The hearing will be publicly broadcast on the Mechanism’s website with a 30-minute delay, and available at the following link:
https://www.irmct.org/en/cases/arusha-branch-courtroom-broadcast

Inquiries about the proceedings can be addressed via email to mict-press [at] un.org

Case Background

On 24 August 2018, Judge Seon Ki Park confirmed an Indictment against Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, Marie Rose Fatuma, and Dick Prudence Munyeshuli (Turinabo et al.), dated 5 June 2018 for contempt of court and incitement to commit contempt, pursuant to Article 1(4)(a) of the Mechanism’s Statute (Statute) and Rule 90 of the Mechanism’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence (Rules). Judge Joensen was assigned as the Single Judge in this case on 11 September 2018. Subsequent to Defence challenges to the form of the indictments as well as a Prosecution motion to amend the indictment, the operative Indictment was filed on 21 October 2019.

On 10 October 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen, acting in his capacity as the Duty Judge for the Arusha Branch, confirmed an Indictment against Augustin Ngirabatware, dated 9 August 2019, for contempt of court and incitement to commit contempt, pursuant to Article 1(4)(a) of the Statute and Rule 90 of the Rules. Judge Joensen was assigned as the Single Judge in this case on 11 October 2019.

On 10 December 2019, Judge Vagn Joensen issued a decision joining the Ngirabatware case with the Turinabo et al. case. Each of the six accused has pleaded not guilty to the respective count or counts charged against him or her.

The Charges

The Prosecution alleges in the Turinabo et al. Indictment that, from at least August 2015 to September 2018, Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean de Dieu Ndagijimana, and Marie Rose Fatuma sought to overturn Augustin Ngirabatware’s final conviction by interfering with the administration of justice, directly and/or through others, including by pressuring, offering bribes to, and otherwise influencing protected witnesses. In addition, or in the alternative, the Prosecution alleges that they incited others to commit contempt by interfering with protected witnesses. Furthermore, the Prosecution alleges that Dick Prudence Munyeshuli and Maximilien Turinabo knowingly violated the protective measures ordered by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by disclosing the identities of protected witnesses, and that Dick Prudence Munyeshuli had prohibited indirect contact with the protected witnesses in knowing violation of court orders.

The Prosecution alleges in the Ngirabatware Indictment that, from at least August 2015 to September 2018, Augustin Ngirabatware, directly and/or through Maximilien Turinabo, Anselme Nzabonimpa, Jean‑de Dieu Ndagijimana, and/or Marie Rose Fatuma sought to influence protected witnesses to recant their trial testimonies in order to overturn his final conviction, thereby interfering with the administration of justice. In addition, or in the alternative, the Prosecution alleges that Augustin Ngirabatware knowingly and wilfully incited others to commit contempt of the ICTR and the Mechanism. Furthermore, the Prosecution alleges that Augustin Ngirabatware knowingly disclosed confidential information and had prohibited contact with a protected witness in knowing violation of court orders.

The Mechanism was established on 22 December 2010 by the United Nations Security Council to carry out a number of essential functions of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, including the completion of a limited number of cases which are inherited from the work of these two tribunals.