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ICTR defense investigator pleads not guilty in witness bribing case

[JURIST] Rwandan defense investigator Leonidas Nshogoza pleaded not guilty Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] to charges of contempt and attempted contempt of the ICTR. Nshogoza was arrested in June 2007 for allegedly bribing witnesses, fabricating evidence and "interfering in the administration of justice" during an appeal of the 2004 conviction [JURIST report] of former Rwandan Higher Education Minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda [TrialWatch profile]. Nshogoza was provisionally released from police custody [JURIST report] in November 2007 and voluntarily surrendered last week after the ICTR issued an international arrest warrant for him. ICTR defense lawyers have demanded Nshogoza's unconditional release and criticized the laying of the charges for undermining the independence of the tribunal. The UN News Centre has more.

Last December, the ICTR sentenced a former witness [JURIST report] in Kamuhanda's appeal to nine months in prison for contempt of court and giving false testimony before the tribunal. Kamuhanda is currently serving two life sentences [IRIN report] for genocide and extermination. The ICTR was established to try genocide suspects for crimes occurring during the 1994 Rwandan conflict [HRW backgrounder] between Hutus and Tutsis in which approximately 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, died.

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