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contribution 08 - APTEL Cécile

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Guilty plea - Kambanda

Cécile APTEL

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Thank you. Very briefly. I did not want to say something about the Kambanda case because I believe that is a difficulty we face in this symposium we don’t know what will happen to Kambanda. At some point he can start cooperating again with the OTP or with the Defence. So this is a bit special. But I just want to set the record straight. In 1998 I was there when he pleaded guilty, so I was a legal officer in Trial Chamber I with Judge Kama. So I monitored the case and I assisted the judges in drafting the judgements on that Kambanda case.

Now, to restitute the facts, it was the Prosecutor who asked for a life sentence. And that was the major problem which took everybody off guard, including the Judges. Why did the Prosecutor ask for a life sentence. That is interesting because we discussed this yesterday on the sidelines. No at the time it was Madam Arbour who was madam Prosecutor.

Madam Del Ponte wants the record to state that it was the tenure of Madam Arbour, but back then it took everybody by surprise, and I believe that is what Mr. Muna was saying that, maybe they had discussions within the OTP, but the Prosecutor officially asked for life sentences and the Judges were then bound by what the Prosecutor then asked.

Because the Prosecutor was saying that they had discussed with Kambanda and there was cooperation. So they had factored in that cooperation but still asked for a life sentence. So what happened on 1 May 1998 in the Trial Chamber, at the end of the discussions, the closing arguments, the judge asked Kambanda do you have anything else to tell us, Mr. Kambanda. He stood up and stood silent for about 20 seconds, which seemed to us like forever, and then he said, "No."

He did not say, "No, Mr. President, I have anything to add." He did not express the least remorse or regret. Admittedly, his counsel had explained the reasons for his cooperation, but he remained silent and said, "No," and ended there at "no". It was very heavy in the Trial Chamber. And that may explain the decision of the Judges.