Former U. S. Attorney General: Sanctions against Erlinder are simply wrong

ARUSHA, TZ — The ICTR Appeal Chamber received a Motion for Reconsideration and for Leave to Withdraw filed by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark on behalf of former Ntabakuze Lead Defense Counsel, Prof. Peter Erlinder, Director of the International Humanitarian Law Institute [IHLI], St. Paul, MN.  Both Prof. Erlinder and Co-counsel Andre Tremblay submitted confidential medical reports explaining the medical reasons and doctors orders preventing their appearance at a 4-hour appeal argument on 31 March.  Major Ntabakuze waived the appearance of both and asked to go forward pro se, or with the assistance of the attorneys acting as Legal Assistants who were present, one of whom is qualified as a Co-counsel under ICTR standards.

On 21 April the Appeal Chamber removed Prof. Erlinder from the case without acknowledging the medical report in its possession explaining that Prof. Erlinder could not travel to Arusha for medical reasons.  The Chamber did not permit Prof. Erlinder an opportunity to be heard. On May 3, Co-counsel Tremblay was appointed as Lead Counsel, to make the four-hour argument at some time in the future, when his medical condition permits, as he would have had Counsel been unable to travel to Arusha.

Prof. Erlinder is unable to attend proceedings because of ongoing treatment for PTSD, the condition common among prisoners of war and hostages, resulting from his detention by the Rwandan government and continuing threats from Rwanda, because his of academic articles and research conclusions.  Erlinder’s research has reached conclusions similar to those of the October 1, 2010 UN “mapping report,” that reported RPF Rwanda government war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide between 1993 and 2003. Erlinder’s condition would have permitted the argument to have been delivered by video or at the Appeal Chamber seat at the Hague.

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