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contribution 17 - VANDERMEERSCH Damien

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Preventive detention


transtlated version

Let me revisit the issue of preventive detention. I believe that one of the negative records of the ICTR is the lack of control over the length of preventive detention. Sometimes, under the Belgian investigations, I had to place two bourgmestres of the Butare préfecture in detention: Mr. Kanyabashi and Mr. Ndayambaje. That was in 1995. Those two cases were dealt with by the ICTR, and those persons were transferred under detention in 1996 to Arusha.

Let me note that 14 years after the warrant of arrest was issued, they have not been tried. I must point out that they are presumed to be innocent. And as a judge, I am shocked to note that an international court of justice lacks control over preventive detention and that there is no penalty for excessive detention. Thank God, in the ICC, those mechanisms have been laid down. There is no possible, there is no way one can control excessive or arbitrary detention. And I believe this is quite disturbing because if international Tribunals should pave the way, to my mind, this is a situation which is clearly inconsistent with all international conventions on human rights.


From that standpoint, the trial has been completed. They are among the personalities tried under the trial called the mother of all the trials, which lasted for eight years.


In our national law, it is simple. If the trial is too long, the accused are released. They are presumed to be innocent. But I have to notice that these two personns are still in detention because the judgement has not been said yet, but they are still are still presumed innocent.


Francois Roux and Everard O’Donnell later.