The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has waived protective measures enjoyed by one of its anonymous witnesses to help the Denmark’s Special International Crimes Office to investigate and eventually prosecute genocide-suspect Emmanuel Mbarushimana.
The witness testified for prosecution at the Tribunal from February 16 to 19, 2004 under the code name RV in the Butare trial involving six accused, including former Rwandan Minister for Women and Family Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the only woman indicted at ICTR, who is waiting delivery of judgment in her case.
According to a decision issued by a Trial Chamber on May 10, 2011, the witness is now willing to testify under his real identity and in open session in the Danish proceedings involving Mbarushimana over his alleged role in crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994.
The Trial Chamber recalled that guiding principles of state cooperation under Article 28 (1) of the Statute also apply to requests for cooperation or judicial assistance from states to the Tribunal, in their investigation or prosecution of persons accused of committing serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Moreover, it noted, the investigation and eventual prosecution by Denmark’s Special International Crimes Office of crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994, requiring the involvement of witness RV, was in line with the principles of state cooperation envisaged by the completion strategy in Security Council Resolutions 1503 and 1534.
In its motion to rescind the protective measures of the witness, the prosecution had stated that the assistance to Denmark was in consistence with Article 28 of the Tribunal’s Statute, its jurisprudence and Security Council Resolutions 1503 of 2003 and 1534 of 2004.
According to the prosecution, jurisprudence has expanded Rule 75 (F) (i) to apply to proceedings in other jurisdictions and not just before the Tribunal. It added that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) amended the said Rule to apply to proceedings in other jurisdictions.
Mbarushimana is accused of being the mastermind of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, particularly in Butare prefecture, (South Rwanda).
The Danish authorities arrested him in connection with the allegations on December 8, 2010. The Special International Crimes Office has been investigating several cases involving genocide suspects since its creation in 2002.