International tribunal discharges lead defence counsel

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, has discharged Michael Greaves, the lead defence counsel for a genocide suspect, the Hirondelle News Agency reported.

It said the tribunal's deputy registrar, Lovemore Munlo, had signed the decision on 23 May. In the document Munlo said Greaves had only partially responded to grievances his client, Rwandan former Civil Service Minister Prosper Mugiraneza, had put to him, Hirondelle reported.

At the end of 2001, Mugiraneza had filed a request before the tribunal's registry for Greaves' dismissal, Hirondelle reported. Mugiraneza accused Greaves, a British national, of a lack of communication, lack of diligence and delay in filing a request for assignment of a co-counsel. He also accused Greaves of a breach of confidentiality, and complained of a lack of scheduling and evaluation of activities, as well as disagreements on the defence strategy.

The registry said Greaves had been informed of all the grievances for his opinion, but in his reply on 10 January had "only addressed the grievance of lack of communication, one relating to breach of confidentiality and requested to be withdrawn from the case". The registry said, "His declining and refusal to get involved in a fee-splitting arrangement is the root of his client's request for withdrawal of his assignment."

It added that despite four reminders this year, Greaves had failed to reply to the registry's letters. Eventually, the registry said, it had to rely on Greave's bar association to compel him to respond. Greaves had also failed to attend a hearing of 5 April, the registry said, and "as of today [Tuesday], despite the involvement of the General Council, he is still unwilling to cooperate with the registry".

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