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11330/04 (Presse 225) 1

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 9 July 2004

11330/04 (Presse 225)

P 82/04

Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the case of Pasteur Bizimungu

The European Union notes with concern the verdict handed down by the Court of First Instance on 7 June in the trial of former President Pasteur Bizimungu, former Minister of Transport Charles Ntakirutinka and six co-defendants. The trial appears to have fallen short of international standards of fairness and impartiality.

The European Union has expressed concern about the nature of the charges against the Pasteur Bizimungu and his co-defendants since they were arrested in May 2002 and about the delays that have characterised the judicial process and resulted in the trial not starting until March 2004. The EU also expresses concern that a full written judgement has not been published over one month following the verdict.

11330/04 (Presse 225) 2

 

The European Union urges Rwanda to ensure that the appeal lodged by Pasteur Bizimungu and his co-defendants is heard quickly and in accordance with fair and due process. The European Union also wishes to reiterate the need for an independent and impartial judiciary.

The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process