A Baptism of Fire: The Barayagwiza Affair

  • Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu


On November 3, 1999, the appellate court of the Arusha tribunal, presided over by the respected American judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, delivered a procedural decision1 in the Barayagwiza case that became the most controversial in the tribunal’s history and provoked an epic clash between the strategic interests of the Rwandan government—backed by Rwandan popular opinion—and the judicial independence of the Arusha tribunal. The decision was based on an appeal by Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza (figure 5.1) against the ruling of a trial bench on his request to be released from pretrial detention. He argued that he was entitled to that remedy on account of serious violations of his fundamental rights: he had been detained far too long without trial in Cameroon (where he was arrested) and in Arusha after he was transferred to the tribunal from Cameroon. The trial panel of judges had rejected Barayagwiza’s arguments2 and he appealed.


Procedural Justice Appeal Chamber International Criminal Tribunal International Tribunal Appellate Court 
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5 A Baptism of Fire: The Barayagwiza Affair

  1. 15.
    See Elizabeth A. Martin, ed., A Dictionary of Law ( Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994 ), 181.Google Scholar
  2. 60.
    Amnesty International, “International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda: Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza Must Not Escape Justice,” Press Release AFR 47/20/99, November 24, 1999.Google Scholar

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© Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu 2005

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  • Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu

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