Complexity of the case

Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 04.02.2013 MUGENZI AND MUGIRANEZA (Government II)
(ICTR-99-50-A)

32.       The Appeals Chamber recalls that “because of the Tribunal’s mandate and of the inherent complexity of the cases before the Tribunal, it is not unreasonable to expect that the judicial process will not always be as expeditious as before domestic courts”.[1] In the circumstances of this case, which is one of the largest ever heard by the Tribunal, the significant period of time which elapsed during these proceedings can be reasonably explained by its size and complexity. The pace of the trial was not dissimilar from that of other multi-accused trials, where no undue delay has been identified.[2] As a result, the fact that some multi-accused cases may have proceeded at a more accelerated pace does not, in and of itself, demonstrate that the duration of proceedings in this case amounted to undue delay.

33.       Although the size and complexity of the case resulted from the Prosecution’s decision to jointly charge four senior government officials, Mugiraneza fails to demonstrate that this decision improperly prolonged his trial. The Appeals Chamber also considers speculative Mugenzi’s contention that investigative failings resulted in the size and complexity of the case or that the Prosecution acted impermissibly simply because much of the Prosecution’s case at trial was deemed unproven. The Appeals Chamber likewise dismisses Mugiraneza’s unsubstantiated contention that the Prosecution’s disclosure violations resulted in undue delay.

[1] Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 1076.

[2] In the Bagosora et al. case, involving the trial of four senior military officers, the trial chamber heard 242 witnesses over the course of 408 trial days in proceedings which lasted 11 years. See Bagosora et al. Trial Judgement, paras. 76, 78, 84. See also Bagosora and Nsengiyumva Appeal Judgement, para. 38 (dismissing Anatole Nsengiyumva’s challenge to undue delay in the proceedings). In the Nahimana et al. case, the Appeals Chamber held that a period of seven years and eight months between the arrest of Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza and the issuance of the trial chamber’s judgement did not constitute undue delay, with the exception of some initial delays which violated his fundamental rights. In particular, the Appeals Chamber reasoned that Barayagwiza’s case was particularly complex due to the multiplicity of counts, the number of accused, witnesses, and exhibits, as well as the complexity of the facts and law. See Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, paras. 1072-1077. This case is nearly twice the size of the Nahimana et al. case. Compare Nahimana et al. Trial Judgement, paras. 50, 94 (93 witnesses over the course of 238 trial days) with Trial Judgement, para. 76 (171 witnesses over the course of 399 trial days).

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Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 09.10.2012 GATETE Jean Baptiste
(ICTR-00-61-A)

29. Whether a case is sufficiently complex to justify lengthy pre-trial detention is, in the view of the Appeals Chamber, a matter to be determined on a case-by-case basis. In the present instance, the Trial Chamber correctly observed that the case against Gatete could not be compared to multi-accused trials, which run for years and involve hundreds of trial days, hundreds of witnesses, and over a thousand exhibits. However, despite this assessment, the Trial Chamber found that the case was complex in light of the number of counts, allegations, and nature of the crimes charged. The Appeals Chamber considers that the Trial Chamber erred in this regard. Although the Indictment alleges crimes pertaining to different modes of liability and several different incidents, the Prosecution was nonetheless able to present its case in 13 days.[4] Moreover, the whole trial in this single-accused case ran for only 30 days, during which 49 witnesses were called and 146 exhibits were admitted.[5] Consequently, the Appeals Chamber does not consider that the allegations against Gatete justified a pre-trial delay of over seven years.[6] Accordingly, the Appeals Chamber finds that the Trial Chamber erred in finding the case particularly complex and in relying on this as one of the factors to support its finding that the pre-trial delay was not undue.

[1] Cf. Renzaho Appeal Judgement, paras. 238-240.

[2] Trial Judgement, para. 60.

[3] Trial Judgement, paras. 60, 64.

[4] Trial Judgement, Annex A, para. 14.

[5] See Trial Judgement, para. 60. Moreover, the Appeals Chamber recognises that all 22 witnesses called by the Prosecution were eye-witnesses who gave relatively short, uncomplicated testimony, and that no expert witnesses were called.

[6] The Appeals Chamber considers that, although the Trial Chamber erred in its evaluation of the complexity of the case, it took into account the correct factors, including the fact that the case had been selected for referral to Rwanda pursuant to Rule 11 bis of the Rules. See Trial Judgement, para. 64.

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ICTR Statute Article 20(4)(c) ICTY Statute Article 21(4)(c)
Notion(s) Filing Case
Appeal Judgement - 14.12.2015 NYIRAMASUHUKO et al. (Butare)
(ICTR-98-42-A)

359. Turning to the merits of the submissions before it, the Appeals Chamber recalls that, as previously held, the length of an accused’s detention does not in itself constitute undue delay, and the fact that the co-Appellants had been detained for many years at the time of the issuance of the Trial Judgement is insufficient, in itself, to show that the Trial Chamber erred in its determination that there was no undue delay in the proceedings.[1] Because of the Tribunal’s mandate and of the inherent complexity of the cases before it, it is not unreasonable to expect that the judicial process will not always be as expeditious as before domestic courts.[2]

360.  It is well established in the Tribunal’s jurisprudence that the complexity of a case is one of the factors to be taken into account when assessing whether undue delay has occurred.[3] A number of factors are relevant to determining the level of complexity of a particular case, including the number of counts, the number of accused, the number of witnesses, the quantity of evidence, and the complexity of the facts and of the law.[4]

[1] See Ntabakuze Appeal Judgement, para. 20.

[2] Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 1076. See also Mugenzi and Mugiraneza Appeal Judgement, para. 32.

[3] Cf. Mugenzi and Mugiraneza Appeal Judgement, para. 30; Gatete Appeal Judgement, para. 18; Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 1074.

[4] Cf. Renzaho Appeal Judgement, para. 238; Nahimana et al. Appeal Judgement, para. 1074. See also Rwamakuba Appeal Decision, para. 13.

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