Press Release: ADC-ICT CONDEMNS PEGASUS SPYWARE MONITORING OF DEFENCE COUNSEL BEFORE THE IRMCT


On 26 July 2021, the ADC-ICt issued a press release regarding the monitoring of defence counsel by Pegasus Spyware.


THE HAGUE – The Association of Defence Counsel practising before the International Courts and Tribunals (ADC-ICT) is extremely concerned by the inclusion of a defence counsel practicing before the IRMCT as a potential target of Pegasus spyware identified by the Organised Crime Corruption and Reporting Project (OCCRP).


A consortium of journalists has gained access to a leak of more than 50,000 phone numbers entered into a system for targeting by Pegasus, a spyware product made by the company NSO Group. Although the specific government agencies that purchased access to Pegasus to attack these targets are not specified in the data, they can be reasonably inferred from the geographical clustering of the leaked phone numbers. More than 3,500 Rwandan phone numbers appear on the leaked Pegasus list, indicating that they were potential targets of the software. These phone numbers include that of Mr. Gatera Gashabana, who currently represents Marie-Rose Fatuma in the Nzabonimpa et al proceedings before the IRMCT.


Monitoring of Mr. Gashabana’s conversations would violate the lawyer-client privilege protected by Rule 119 of the IRMCT Rules, which was recognised by the Appeals Chamber as being “vital to the defence of an accused or appellant by allowing for the open communication between attorney and client necessary for effective legal assistance as guaranteed under Article 21(4)(d) of the Statute”.